COMMUNITY LIVING SERVICES: 
You Made Your Mark

[July 2020 | By Eva Veitch, Region 10 Community Living Services Program Director]

At the eleventh hour in late April, our agency decided to see if community members would be interested in submitting articles about older adults who have made a difference in their community. We were blown away with the response from people in our six counties. The articles were amazing, and the accomplishments of these people are inspirational.

The people highlighted included business owners, a judge, professional photographer, farmers and ranchers, artists of all kinds, and people who saw a need in their community and set out to fill it. The project was designed to acknowledge the accomplishments of older adults but also to inspire others of all ages to step up and make a difference in their own way.

I have known many mature people in my personal and professional life who have taken on challenges that many of us would not—things like accepting the responsibility of raising grandchildren, becoming foster parents, running for public office, fighting City Hall, starting a new business, or addressing social injustice in a big way. Older adults have a lifetime of experience that makes them the perfect candidates to tackle tough challenges and solve problems, but their wisdom is often overlooked.

The stories that were submitted have been published in a very special, limited-edition book that will be gifted to each person who’s in it. Several of these people reside in assisted living or nursing facilities and most are still very active in their communities, continuing to pave the way for the rest of us. If you are one of us oldsters, I encourage you to share your life stories with your children and grandchildren so your memories will live on and continue to teach the younger generation. If you are younger, PLEASE reach out to the older folks in your life and really get to know them. Your lives will be richer for having heard about the experiences of others.

 

Our older adults grew up without television, telephones, or computers, and many were without electricity or indoor plumbing. There were no 40-hour weeks or vacations; they simply did what needed to be done. Many of these people did not earn Social Security because it either wasn’t a thing yet, or they were self-employed farmers and ranchers who didn’t pay into the program. Many older adults are now living on less than $800 per month, and they often refuse public benefits because someone else may need it more.

There is a sense of pride and community among our older generation, a strong desire to make sure that their children and grandchildren benefit from their lifelong efforts. This generation continues to make their mark and our communities for all of us. Take a minute to thank the older adults in your lives, and when there is a problem in your community, seek the advice and wisdom of the trailblazers.