Riesberg: Celebrate our neighbors during Older Americans Month
May is Older Americans Month, a time to reflect on and celebrate the importance and contributions that older adults make in our communities. One of United Way of Weld County’s initiative areas is Aging Well, which focuses on older adults and their needs and opportunities.
More people are living longer, healthier and more-fulfilling lives. In setting its future trajectory, United Way’s Aging Well work group found that AARP has extensive resources and tools to help people live comfortably in their homes and communities as they age, and so is partnering closely with AARP.
Founded in 1958, AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan social welfare organization with a membership of nearly 38 million people aged 50 and older. It empowers people to choose how they live as they age.
In 2021, Evans, Garden City and Greeley joined the AARP Network of Age-Friendly Communities to engage with over 600 local areas in the United States committed to providing older adults with the opportunity to live rewarding, productive and safe lives. Well-designed, age-friendly communities foster economic growth and make for happier, healthier residents of all ages.
Extensive local conversations with dozens of partners has resulted in Age-Friendly Weld, a strategy for helping Weld County become more age-friendly. Read the plan at UnitedWay-Weld.org/initiatives/aging-well.
While AARP is a national organization, there is a local office in every state. Visit www.AARP.org/CO to learn more about what is happening in Colorado. Popular local services include Tax-Aide, which is the nation’s largest free, volunteer-run, IRS-certified tax preparation program. It is for older adults and low-income residents, while being open to anyone. The AARP Driver Safety Course is for those 50 and older. Periodic free Movies for Grown-ups are shown at a local theater.
AARP hosts online programs almost daily on topics like yoga, mindfulness, museum visits, concerts, educational classes, neighborhood walks, caregiving resources, updates on Medicare and Social Security, fraud prevention and more.
“AARP: The Magazine” is published six times per year, with celebrity interviews and features on health, technology, money, retirement, book and movie reviews, recipes and other important information to improve quality of life. “The AARP Bulletin,” published 10 times annually, provides timely insights and in-depth analysis important to those 50-plus on health, Medicare, Social Security, finances, consumer protection and other topics.
Other important AARP services include health and wellness programs, finance and financial planning, retirement resources, insurance coverage, entertainment, travel planning, family caregiving, home and real estate, technology, work and jobs, educational seminars and help to build stronger social connections. At AARP.org/books you will find e-books, print books, and free downloads on your favorite topics.
Not only does AARP do extensive research on important issues, they also provide grants and other funding opportunities to improve conditions in our local communities.
AARP Colorado also has one of the strongest volunteer advocacy teams working at the Colorado State Capitol, monitoring bills that impact older adults, educating legislators, testifying in committee hearings, speaking at town hall meetings, promoting get-out-the-vote campaigns and surveying and sharing legislator positions on issues impacting the lives of older adults.
AARP also works in Washington, D.C., advocating for the rights of older Americans through the legal system, fighting consumer fraud and discrimination in healthcare, employment, housing and more.
Go to AARP.org to find out more and explore an extensive list of benefits.
In days ahead, AARP is one of many resources United Way and the Aging Well work group will be highlighting as we work to help every older adult in Weld County to get the resources they need to age well.
Jim Riesberg is the northern Colorado representative to the AARP Colorado executive council.