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NYS honors older volunteers at Older New Yorkers' Day virtual celebration

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Wed, Nov 18th 2020 01:40 pm

Annual event pays tribute to older adults from across state for contributions to communities

The New York State Office for the Aging (NYSOFA) on Tuesday celebrated Older New Yorkers’ Day virtually, recognizing 87 volunteers from across the state who “demonstrate their extraordinary value every day to their family, friends and community.” The celebration traditionally takes place each year in May in Albany; however, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year it was premiered as a virtual event.

To view the event video, visit, https://bit.ly/ONYD2020.

“We have highlighted for years the significant contributions older New Yorkers make to their families, communities, and the economy,” NYSOFA Acting Director Greg Olsen said. “The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated how important volunteers of all ages are, particularly those age 60 and older, as they have put themselves at risk to provide critical services to older adults in their homes to slow the spread of the virus. We recognize how essential our state’s older volunteers are – without their efforts, many individuals would not have the food, supplies and medications they need to help ensure their health and safety. Every day, these volunteers are saving lives. I could not be more thankful and proud.”

A press release said, “Annually, Older Americans Month highlights the incredible efforts and diverse contributions older adults make to their communities. In New York, there are almost 1 million volunteers age 55-plus who contribute approximately 500 million hours of service each year at an economic value of more than $13 billion. The 2020 Older Americans Month theme is ‘Make Your Mark,’ which perfectly captures the role older New Yorkers are making during this pandemic. Their time, experience and talents benefit family, peers and neighbors every day. This year’s theme highlights the difference everyone can make to support and strengthen their communities.”

Each year on Older New Yorkers’ Day, the New York State Office for the Aging and its 59 area agencies on aging across the state honor “extraordinary individuals who, through their actions, demonstrate the spirit of civic engagement and selflessness. Many older New Yorkers have been providing essential services during this pandemic as a result of Matilda’s Law by delivering meals, groceries, supplies and medication; providing transportation to critical medical appointments such as dialysis and cancer treatments; and making phone calls to older adults to combat social isolation. These individuals are true heroes who deserve our gratitude for being on the front lines to help others.

“All of our older volunteers show the true side of aging – that it’s not about artificial numbers that represent age, because how old we are is not what defines us. It is our actions, passions, commitments, perseverance and goals that define us – and an artificial number can never be placed on these.”

This year’s Older New Yorkers’ Day celebration honors 87 individuals from 49 counties who volunteer their time and energy to more than 460 different organizations throughout the year to help others.

NYSOFA regularly highlights volunteers on its website and through social media, and every day through the rest of 2020 it will showcase this year’s honorees as well as those volunteers who are putting themselves at risk to serve their communities and are continuing to work to address the needs of older adults during the pandemic.

NYSOFA works to help the state’s 4.6 million older adults be as independent as possible for as long as possible through advocacy, development and delivery of person-centered, consumer-oriented and cost-effective policies, programs and services that support and empower older adults and their families, in partnership with the network of public and private organizations that serve them.

New York is nationally recognized for being the first age-friendly state in the nation.

Visit the NYSOFA Facebook page; follow @NYSAGING on Twitter and NYSAging on Instagram; or visit aging.ny.gov.

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