Older Americans Month
In 1963, when Older Americans Month was established, only 17 million living Americans had reached their 65th birthday. About a third of them lived in poverty, and there were few programs available to meet their needs. There was a growing concern and interest in older Americans, which prompted a meeting between then-President John F. Kennedy and members of the National Council of Senior Citizens. This meeting led to the designation of May as “Senior Citizens Month”, then the precursor to “Older Americans Month”
Historically, Older Americans Month has been a time for the acknowledgement of the contributions of past and current older people to our country. Today, there are over three times as many Americans over the age of 65 as there were in 1963. The theme for this year’s celebration is “Age My Way”, which places a focus on aging in place. It’s a wonderful time to reflect on the way those in your life can continue living independently, as well as consider the many ways that older adults can remain engaged with their communities.
People are living longer these days, according to the World Health Organization. Today, people can expect to live well into their 60s and beyond. When we reach what is typically known as retirement age, we’ll still have decades of value to our communities ahead of us, as well as behind us. Older adults are valued mentors and civic leaders. Many still work and volunteer and are of course important family members. Take a step back and note the myriad ways you see older adults in your life thriving.