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Powered by Connection

Older Americans, the bedrock of New York, deserve our time, attention, respect and support all year long.

Every May, our nation celebrates Older Americans Month (OAM) to honor the many contributions of older Americans, highlight their evolving needs, preferences, and to combat society’s ageist attitudes. This year’s theme, "Powered by Connection," emphasizes the importance of meaningful relationships and social connections for our health and well-being. Staying connected supports independence and helps combat isolation and loneliness, enhancing the overall quality of life for older adults.

Keeping older adults connected to their communities and to each other is one of NYC Aging’s highest priorities. Our community centered model enables older New Yorkers to live, work, play and thrive in the neighborhoods they helped build with ample support for the organizations and loved ones who care for them. It is the very foundation of our approach to building an age-inclusive city.

NYC Aging offers numerous programs and resources to help older New Yorkers stay connected and engaged. Our Friendly Visiting Program, for instance, matches volunteers with homebound older adults for visits, phone calls, or video chats, fostering friendships and providing much-needed social interaction. The agency also partners with over 300 older adult centers and 36 aging-friendly Naturally Occurring Retirement Communities, which provide countless activities and opportunities to meet new people in their own building or community.

Social isolation can severely impact both mental and physical health. Studies show that loneliness and isolation increase the risk of heart disease, depression and cognitive decline. So much so, that its impact can be as harmful as smoking 15 cigarettes a day.

Staying connected provides significant benefits, reducing feelings of depression and anxiety, encouraging physical activity and keeping the mind sharp. Strong social connections also promote longer, healthier lives by reducing stress and encouraging better lifestyle choices.

If you or someone you know is experiencing the mental effects of loneliness and isolation, our Geriatric Mental Health Program helps older adults manage aging-related changes through group and individual sessions, available in-person, virtually, or over the phone, and in multiple languages. NYC Aging also supplies transportation services to ensure older adults can attend essential medical and social service appointments, while many older adult centers offer group transportation for shopping trips and recreational outings.

Older Americans Month is an annual reminder of the critically important role older adults play in our society. We know they deserve our time, attention, respect, and support all year long. Together, let’s foster a more connected and vibrant community for them. Older Americans are the bedrock of New York and the nation, having contributed significantly to the freedoms, equality and opportunities we all enjoy today. It is our responsibility to build a future based on these values, ensuring that older Americans and their loved ones receive the care and support they deserve for generations to come.

For more information on resources and services for older adults, or to explore upcoming events and activities, call Aging Connect at 212-AGING-NYC (212-244-6469) or visit

Lorraine Cortés-Vázquez is a CUNY Trustee and the Commissioner of the Department for the Aging. She has a distinguished career spanning over 30 years across
nonprofit, government, and corporate sectors. Appointed by Mayor Eric Adams in March 2022, she has advanced equity and diversity in NYC's older adult centers and created the first Aging Cabinet as NYC Department for the Aging Commissioner. Previously, she served as Senior Advisor to Mayor Bill de Blasio and held senior roles at EmblemHealth, AARP, and as NY State Secretary of State. Cortés-Vázquez holds degrees from Hunter College and NYU, and certificates from Harvard and Columbia.