The White House Conference on Aging was held recently ( where experts and policymakers discussed the challenges and opportunities that communities face around senior living. More than 10,000 adults turn 65 or older every day in this country. Many experts predict that there will be a greater number of older adults than young people by the year 2020. Many communities have benefited economically and socially from the past and current contributions of older adults. Are we returning the favor?

“Pay it Forward,” is short-hand for telling someone to perform a kind deed for someone else in response for the kind deed just given to them. I say, it’s time for us to “Pay it Backward.” Perform acts of kindness for senior adults. Use your voice, talent, skills, resources, status, legal know-how and power to hire or promote, to help at least one senior adult.

Securing the independence of others, when it’s within your power to do so, is a kind act. Mobility is key to independence. When older adults cannot drive to buy groceries, medicine or attend church, it diminishes their quality of life. Public transportation is one way to solve the problem, but it’s not the only way. It would be difficult for many senior citizens to make it to and from a bus stop, even if riding a bus were an option in our community. What are you doing to “Pay it Backward” in this area? Can your family or business sponsor existing groups that are trying to provide this service? Can you become more active with local initiatives and committees reviewing this issue?1

One easy way to “Pay it Backward” is to volunteer with Faith in Action Volunteers. Every year, our volunteers provide over 10,000 hours of services for older adults in Broome County. You could do as little as one transport or visit per month: two hours of your time = increased mobility and quality of life for an older adult. We coordinate the logistics and you provide a friendly service that means so much!

Call 724-9130 ext. 312 to sign up for the next volunteer orientation or email


 1adapted from Daphne Malory,, ID

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