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Celebrate Older Americans Month by Getting Involved

May is one of my favorite months of the year. Springtime, flowers and gardens in full bloom, and—as I recall from nearly 30 years as a school teacher in Brownsville—the end of a school year and the anticipation of children and families for summer vacation.

May is also a special time when we honor older Americans and the incalculable contributions they have made to our country.

Today’s older Americans have lived through wars, hard times as well as periods of unprecedented prosperity. They’ve pioneered advances in medicine, communications, and industry all the while leading a cultural revolution that won equal rights for minorities, women, and disabled Americans.

These achievements demonstrate the strength and character of older Americans and highlight the debt of gratitude we owe to those who have given us so much.

Fortunately, older Americans show no signs of slowing down.

A recent AARP study of Americans ages 44 to 79 indicates that, for the first time ever, older Americans worry that they’re leaving the world in worse shape than the one they inherited.

The good news is that they don’t plan on standing idly by watching it happen. Today’s older Americans want to leave a better legacy to their children and grandchildren. They want to make a difference.

The report shows that while older Americans are already volunteering at high rates, they want to do more. Four in 10 say that they want to increase the time they spend volunteering. What a resource!

That’s why AARP has launched Create the Good, an initiative designed to connect people with opportunities to make a difference in their communities. Create The Good expands on traditional ways to volunteer by con¬necting people with simple activities, time flexible opportunities, and a wide variety of areas of interest.

With Create The Good, you can connect to a network of people, tools and ideas to help you make a difference in your community. You can find an activity that fits your schedule and your interests—whether you have 5 minutes, 5 hours or 5 days.

Whether you have minutes or hours to spare, there’s no end to the ways you can help. Clean up a park. Read to a child. Adopt a pet. Give blood. Donate canned food. AARP’s Create the Good can show you how easy it is to do, on your time and your terms.

Jann Horswell of Dallas, TX, for example, used the Create the Good website to conduct home safety checks for seniors in her community and make easy, inexpensive changes to ensure their homes are secure and safe.

Eighty-nine percent of older Americans have told AARP they want to remain in their home and community for as long as possible. Through volunteers like Jann, Create the Good is helping them do just that.

The annual commemoration of Older Americans Month is our opportunity to recognize the contributions of older citizens. But, this Older Americans Month, why not do more than honor older Americans? Why not get involved? Check out today. It doesn’t take much time. After all, a little time can make a big difference.

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