The New York State Office for the Aging (NYSOFA) recently honored 94 older adults for their volunteerism in every region of the state as part of NYSOFA's annual Older New Yorkers' Day celebration.
The November 4 program is available to watch and share at any time on YouTube. In it, NYSOFA and guests recognize the exceptional talents and generosity of older adults nominated by New York's network of 59 county-based Area Agencies on Aging.
NYSOFA's Older New Yorkers’ Day award program book, available on NYSOFA’s website, includes profiles of all awardees. It describes the many ways that each awardee uniquely contributes through civic organizations, charities, in schools or libraries, on behalf of health and human services organizations or other non-profits, through acts of kindness to their friends and neighbors of all ages, and so much more. Please read the program book to find awardees from your region, organized alphabetically by county.
As a group, older New Yorkers age 55 and over contribute more than 495 million hours of volunteer service each year at an economic value of $13.8 billion. The 94 volunteers recognized during NYSOFA’s 2022 Older New Yorkers’ Day program live in 55 counties. Collectively, they represent 5,500 years of life experience and have volunteered for a combined 2,568 years of service.
“The word 'volunteer' cannot capture fully the accomplishments of this group of incredible individuals,” said NYSOFA Director Greg Olsen in his prepared remarks. “Older adults impress us all with their commitment to a greater good and a greater cause. You tell the real story of what’s good about people, what’s good about New York. Through your deeds and actions, time and again, you show us how valuable you all are to those you touch, to those you serve, to the families and communities and lives you make better.”
Olsen also emphasized that the example set by these 94 volunteers is vital to overcoming ageist stereotypes that one-dimensionally cast older adults as frail or a burden on society – “a misnomer to say the least,” he said.
Olsen added: “Individuals of all ages sometimes need assistance, but older adults as a whole consider themselves healthy, remain active and engaged and are a very important part of the local, regional, state and national economies as well as the ability of community organizations to operate. Further, they give a tremendous amount of their time to hundreds of civic groups and organizations that are critical in delivering direct services and supporting local agencies.”
Further Background About Older New Yorkers’ Day
Each year, since 1963, federal, state and local governments recognize Older Americans Month in May. In May 2022, New York Governor Kathy Hochul marked the occasion with a proclamation designating May as Older Americans Month in New York “in honor of individuals age 60 and over who contribute to the social, economic, and cultural vibrancy of our state,” calling upon communities across the state to “promote the value and contribution of older adults through age-friendly systems and supports that provide for needs across the age spectrum.”
New York State goes a step further, additionally holding a special observance of Older New Yorkers’ Day by collecting nominations of exceptional older adults from county-based offices for the aging. While traditionally held in May, Older New Yorkers’ Day has recently been held in November as a virtual event, due to COVID-19. The November program coincides with National Family Caregivers Month as a special spotlight on the contributions of older adults.