From self-expression to self-direction, there are countless ways for older adults to stay engaged and give back to others at the same time. Some of the most rewarding ways to express yourself and contribute to your community involve passing on experiences, wisdom, and skills to the generations that follow.
Everyone has something to share, and these ideas can help get you started.
Mentor. Use professional or personal experiences to guide a child, young adult, or even a peer. Example: Visit Senior Corps at nationalservice.gov to learn about becoming a foster grandparent.
Volunteer. Put skills to use while giving back to your community.
Example: Sign up to collect food/clothing donations, serve meals at a local soup kitchen, or help older friends with daily tasks at home such as paying bills.
Teach. Impart expertise via formal or informal education and tutoring opportunities.
Example: Check with local schools that may need reading, math, or science tutors.
Speak. Sign up for speaking engagements, paid or unpaid, as well as storytelling events.
Example: Open-mic events, often at theaters and libraries, welcome speakers of all ages.
Engage. Visit a senior center or organize a gathering focused on connecting with others.
Example: Book clubs attract participants of all ages and encourage the exchange of ideas.
Write. Pen an article, op-ed, or even a book to communicate wisdom and lessons learned. Example: Start with something you know the most about, such as a career, hobby, or historical event, and submit a column to your local newspaper.
Create. Pick a medium and use art to express yourself and share your perspective.
Example: Paint, draw, sculpt, play music, dance, make crafts – whatever suits you.
Looking for more ideas? Each May, the Administration for Community Living leads Older Americans Month, a national observance focused on community engagement and other issues important to older adults. Visit https://oam.acl.gov/ any time for resources and inspiration.