Celebrating Older Americans Month: Powered by Connection

Older Americans Month, Powered by Connection, pictures of many older adults in images of connection

Connection is a nourishment powerhouse. Just like sunshine, fresh air, good food, and time in nature, connection plays a vital role in keeping us happy, healthy, fulfilled, inspired, purposeful, contributing and laughing. Meaningful connections spark our passion and zest for life. Because it’s so important, and has a profound impact 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, this year’s Older Americans Month theme is #PoweredByConnection.

Established in 1963, Older Americans Month (OAM) is celebrated every May. Led by a federal agency, the Administration for Community Living (ACL), OAM is a time to recognize older Americans’ contributions, highlight aging trends, and reaffirm commitments to serving the older adults in our communities.

“It’s not just about having someone to chat with,” said Catherina Isidro, our Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP) Statewide Director. “It’s about the transformative potential of community engagement in enhancing mental, physical, and emotional well-being.” California Senior Medicare Patrol is a grant-funded project administered by California Health Advocates that is funded by the federal U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), U.S. Administration for Community Living. California SMP, and all SMPs around the country, are powered by connection.

We have hundreds of volunteers across the state working peer to peer to empower and assist people with Medicare and Medicaid to avoid, detect, and report healthcare fraud,” said Isidro. “They do this great work powered by the connection to other SMP liaisons and volunteers around the state, our dedicated staff team, and the tens of thousands of beneficiaries, their families and caregivers that we serve. It is our passion for connection and making a difference that fuels this program, our hearts and the hearts of those we serve.”

By recognizing the vital nourishment and nurturing the role that connectedness plays in the lives of older adults, we can mitigate issues like loneliness, ultimately promoting healthy, engaged and fulfilled aging for more Americans.

How can community groups, businesses, and organizations mark OAM? 

  • Spread the word about the mental, physical, and emotional health benefits of social connection through professional and personal networks.
  • Encourage social media followers to share their thoughts and stories of connection using hashtag #PoweredByConnection to inspire and uplift.
  • Promote opportunities to engage, like cultural activities, recreational programs, and interactive virtual events.
  • Connect older adults with local services, such as counseling, that can help them overcome obstacles to meaningful relationships and access to support systems.
  • Connect older adults and people with disabilities with the support they need with Medicare questions by contacting their local Health Insurance Counseling and Advocacy Program (HICAP). HICAP is available in every county and provides free, individual and unbiased assistance with Medicare and other health insurance related issues.
  • Encourage anyone with Medicare fraud questions or suspected scams to report it to our California Senior Medicare Patrol at 1-855-613-7080. Join our free monthly webinars, and our newsletter by signing up at the bottom of our homepage. Schedule one of our SMP team members to give a group of older adults a presentation on Medicare fraud and current scams.
  • Host connection-centric events or programs where older adults can serve as mentors to peers, younger adults, or youths.
  • Join our Senior Medicare Patrol Team and become a volunteer. Empower your peers to prevent, detect and report fraud.

What can individuals do to connect?

For more information on Older Americans Month, visit the official OAM website and follow ACL on X, Facebook, and LinkedIn. Join the conversation on social media using the hashtag #OlderAmericansMonth and #PoweredbyConnection.

Karen Joy Fletcher

Our blogger Karen Joy Fletcher is CHA’s Communications Director. With a Masters in Public Health from UC Berkeley, she is the online “public face” of the organization, provides technical expertise, writing and research on Medicare and other health care issues. She is responsible for digital content creation, management of CHA’s editorial calendar, and managing all aspects of CHA’s social media presence. She loves being a “communicator” and enjoys networking and collaborating with the passionate people and agencies in the health advocacy field. See her current articles.