Each year, more older adults are making a positive impact in and around the Gateway (Bath, Menifee, Montgomery, Morgan, and Rowan counties) area.

As volunteers, employees, employers, educators, mentors, advocates, and more, they offer insight and experience that benefit the entire community. That’s why Older Americans Month (OAM) has been recognizing the contributions of this growing population for 56 years.

Led by the Administration for Community Living (ACL) each May, OAM provides resources to help older Americans stay healthy and independent and resources to help communities support and celebrate their diversity.

This year’s OAM theme, Connect, Create, Contribute, encourages older adults and their communities to:

• Connect with friends, family, and local services and resources.

• Create through activities that promote learning, health, and personal enrichment.

• Contribute time, talent, and life experience to benefit others.

The Ombudsman program will celebrate OAM by promoting ways that community members of all ages can take part in helping the Gateway Area thrive. Members of the public are encouraged to:

Connect: Connect with the local Ombudsman program for training/education opportunities to learn about the issues older Americans face.

Create: Those who have family living in Long Term Care can learn about opportunities to create Family Councils. Also learn about opportunities to volunteer to help protect older adults and advocate for their rights.

Contribute: Learn about opportunities to volunteer with the Ombudsman Program, which is currently looking for Friendly visitors and Certified Volunteers to visit residents in facilities. Advisory Council members are also sought to advise and contribute ideas to the program.

For information about opportunities to contribute contact the local Ombudsman Program: Waynanne Caudill, District Long Term Care Ombudsman, 546 East Main Street, STE 1, Morehead, or call 784-8921, ext. 2127, or email wcaudill@lablaw.org.