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Thursday, September 12, 2024

Older Americans Month at CMSS: Powered by Connection

Established in 1963, Older Americans Month is celebrated each May. Led by the Administration for Community Living (ACL), a federal agency, Older Americans Month recognizes older Americans’ contributions, highlights aging trends, and reaffirms commitments to serving older adults in our communities.

This year’s theme, “Powered by Connection,” focuses on the profound impact that meaningful connections have on the well-being and health of older adults — a relationship underscored by the U.S. Surgeon General’s Advisory on the Healing Effects of Social Connection and Community. At CMSS, we are dedicated to creating opportunities for older adults to build connections and be part of an engaged and supportive community. This Older Adults Month, consider becoming part of one of our social and support programs.

Senior Connections

Senior Connections at CMSS is a no-cost program that matches volunteers with older adults to form mutually beneficial friendships.

This powerful initiative not only reduces loneliness and isolation, but it also inspires and motivates the participating volunteers and older adults, bringing joy and fulfillment into their lives In addition to building one-on-one friendships, the Senior Connections program also creates opportunities for all participants and volunteers to gather together for community-building, creative endeavors, and  learning opportunities.

“Not only can social isolation and loneliness result in negative mental health impacts, but we know that there are physical health consequences to these factors as well. People need social connection to be happy and healthy, and we are working hard in the northern suburbs and northside of Chicago to help reconnect folks who have felt disconnected. The friendships people build through the program are really impactful to their well-being,” says Luke Roeschley, Director of Senior Connections.

West Suburban Senior Services

At our West Suburban location, CMSS offers weekday programs in a welcoming community where older adults can socialize, engage in fun activities, exercise, and enjoy a nutritious meal together. We also offer educational programming, expert presentations on important resources for healthy aging, and referrals to area aging service providers.

Senior Center Director Maggie Dodd says, “There are many options for older adults, and it can be overwhelming for individuals to navigate the complex systems of support and resources on their own. In addition to providing a welcoming and engaging Senior Center experience, we’re dedicated to being a trusted resource to help older adults and their families better understand the information and opportunities available to them.

We’re not just about connecting older adults with one another, but also connecting them to the right care, information, and assistance to meet their needs.”

Our LGBT+ Program at West Suburban is another opportunity built around connection.

Every Friday, we bring together a group of LGBT+ older adults and allies to spend time in the community, share stories, and seek and offer support.

“It is vitally important to provide targeted services to LGBT+ older adults, and we know there is a growing need for LGBT+ inclusive programming in the western suburbs. Creating spaces that are safe and welcoming for LGBT+ older adults to gather, share, and learn is critical, and we are proud to be part of creating this welcoming and supportive space for connection,” says Eric Eugenio-Vironet, Executive Director of West Suburban Senior Services.

You can read more about the epidemic of loneliness and social isolation in this blog from last fall.

Get Involved this Older Americans Month

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