May 21, 2020 – Letter to the Editor
Older Americans month, celebrated each May, was established in 1963. This year’s theme is “Make Your Mark.” There is no doubt that celebrations would be taking place all over the country this month, honoring those who contribute to their community.
However, in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis, the focus on older adults is directed at the tragic loss of life. Many of the individuals affected by this cruel virus resided in congregate settings like nursing homes, where it spread quickly. They had medical conditions that made them less able to fight off this persistent virus. These men and women were certainly vulnerable, with serious medical conditions. Our hearts go out to the families, friends, and caregivers who are grieving.
As the realities of this virus are in view every day, we have seen the increased use of the word “vulnerable” to describe older adults. Those most at risk are often described by an age. We need to be careful not to label people due to age alone. Many older adults work very hard at both their physical and mental health. The members of SourcePoint do both, engaging regularly in exercise, education, travel, art, and music programs. While some older adults may have physical limitations, age alone is not the indicator.
Right now, older adults are at home helping to reduce the spread. As we move through this challenging year together, we need to remember the incredible value older adults bring to society. Celebrate these important members of our community, not only in May, but every day—because when restrictions lift, we will again see them as teachers, first responders, volunteers, elected officials, artists, business owners, grandparents, and more.
SourcePoint Board of Directors