Whether you are an “older” American yourself or have a loved one who qualifies, May is the time to celebrate older Americans. Officially designated as “Older Americans Month,” the month of May is a time to honor and appreciate the past, current, and future contributions of the older members of our nation. To get you started, the Grand Forks elder law attorney at German Law encourage you to celebrate Older Americans Month this May.
What Is Older Americans Month?
In its 2022 proclamation, the White House explained Older Americans Month by saying the following: “During Older Americans Month, we honor our Nation’s seniors and the tremendous impact they have made in helping build a more perfect Union. Older Americans contribute their time and wisdom to make our communities stronger, more informed, and better connected. They are our loved ones, friends, mentors, essential workers, volunteers, and neighbors. We celebrate their achievements and recommit to providing our elders with the support and services they need to thrive and age with dignity.”
History of Older Americans Month
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Community Living, when Older Americans Month was established in 1963, only 17 million living Americans had reached their 65th birthday. About a third of older Americans lived in poverty and there were few programs to meet their needs. Interest in older Americans and their concerns was growing. A meeting in April 1963 between President John F. Kennedy and members of the National Council of Senior Citizens led to designating May as ‘Senior Citizens Month,’ the prelude to ‘Older Americans Month.
Historically, Older Americans Month has been a time to acknowledge the contributions of past and current older persons to our country, in particular those who defended our country. Every President since Kennedy has issued a formal proclamation during or before the month of May asking that the entire nation pay tribute in some way to older persons in their communities. Older Americans Month is celebrated across the country through ceremonies, events, fairs, and other such activities.
How to Get Involved in Older Americans Month
The Administration for Community Living leads the nation’s observance of Older Americans Month (OAM) each May. A new theme is chosen each year. The 2023 theme is Aging Unbound, which “offers an opportunity to explore diverse aging experiences and discuss how communities can combat stereotypes.”
If you are planning a group celebration for Older Americans Month, the Administration for Community Living website offers numerous ideas and tools to help get you started, including logos, posters, and activity ideas.
Individuals can also celebrate the theme (Aging Unbound) of this year’s Older American Month in a variety of ways, such as:
- Embrace the opportunity to change. Find a new passion, go on an adventure, and push boundaries by not letting age define your limits. Invite creativity and purpose into your life by trying new activities in your community to bring in more growth, joy, and energy.
- Explore the rewards of growing older. With age comes knowledge, which provides insight and confidence to understand and experience the world more deeply. Continue to grow that knowledge through reading, listening, classes, and creative activities.
- Stay engaged in your community. One of the best ways to do this is to volunteer. Everyone benefits when everyone is connected and involved. Stay active by volunteering, working, mentoring, participating in social clubs, and taking part in activities at your local senior center or elsewhere in the community. For more information, contact your local Area Agency on Aging.
- Form relationships. As an essential ingredient of well-being, relationships can enhance your quality of life by introducing new ideas and unique perspectives. Invest time with people to discover deeper connections with family, friends, and community members.
Contact a Grand Forks Elder Law Attorney
Please join us for an upcoming FREE seminar. If you have additional questions or concerns about elder law, contact a Grand Forks elder law attorney at German Law by calling 701-738-0060 to schedule an appointment.
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