This month, Grantmakers In Aging hosted a webinar, “Seeing Older Adults As Assets”. The conversation discussed the importance of intergenerational programs and providing volunteer opportunities for older adults. Panelists included Trent Stamp, CEO of The Eisner Foundation; Joel Arquillos, Executive Director of 826LA; and Nahtahna Cabanes, VP of Strategic Partnerships and Director of RSVP at L.A. Works.
The three panelists described their organization’s mission and how it relates to older adult engagement in our communities:
- The Eisner Foundation identifies, advocates for, and invests in high-quality and innovative programs that unite multiple generations for the enrichment of our communities.
- 826LA is a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting students ages 6-18 with their creative and expository writing skills, and to helping teachers inspire their students to write.
- L.A. Works is a volunteer action center that creates and implements hands-on community service projects throughout the greater Los Angeles area.
All three panelists stressed the importance of older adults participating in our communities, including making it possible to re-engage volunteers in the future after this time of COVID-19.
Although older adults are at most risk for social isolation, studies show that health outcomes improve when older adults engage in their communities. Today in the United States, adults over 65 outnumber individuals under 18. With an increasing older adult population, it is important that programs are made available that allow older adults to be active participants in our communities and that we view older adults as assets in our society.
In communities across the nation, older adults can participate in mentorship programs, tutoring services for children, companion programs, food banks, and more. As volunteers, older adults often have experience to offer, are more reliable and patient when it comes to their volunteer work. While COVID-19 has put a stop to in-person programs, many programs across the country have been able to continue sessions online to continue face-to-face interactions virtually.
On behalf of Age Well CT, we hope to continue the conversation and shine the spotlight on older adults as important contributors to our communities and providing resources and tools for older adults to get involved.