May marks Older Americans Month, a time to recognize and honor the resilience and strength of older adults, whose stories and contributions help support each generation. This year's theme is "Communities of Strength," which focuses on the power of connection when building strong communities.
Why is community important?
A sense of community is an essential ingredient to a healthy lifestyle, no matter your age. Ties to a community can help regulate mood and enhance general well-being by providing a social outlet that can help you tap into new opportunities. Because communities are comprised of individuals with different life experiences, they can also help you broaden your perspective and think about new ways of being in the world.
How are communities built?
Successful communities are built when a group of like-minded individuals comes together to achieve a goal. That doesn't mean that every member of the community has to be the same—rather that each member has to have a collaborative spirit. Indeed, diversity of interests and experiences can make a community stronger, as it will have more knowledge to draw upon.
Being part of a community:
Even people who consider themselves introverts benefit greatly from being members of a community. Though introverts typically recharge by spending quiet time alone, the knowledge that there is a group of people who care about you is a powerful curative force. An extroverted person might recharge by getting together with their community members, while an introverted person may recharge merely by knowing there is a supportive community surrounding them when they choose to reach out. Having the ability to do both is important and not something to take for granted. Community is also an obligation: to be a member of a community, you must contribute to it. This contribution can take the form of many different things: sharing your unique perspective with someone, helping them with a chore, or simply just offering a smile and encouraging word.
Finding your community:
There are many ways to get involved with your community or to explore a new one. Volunteering, social groups, and clubs are just a few ways to get connected. Many Touchmark communities offer opportunities for outside community members to get involved in activities and events, and those who live in a retirement community have the benefit of being intimately connected to a network of supportive people. Learn more about the Touchmark community and ways to get involved here.