May 4, 2022 General Interest
Age My Way: May is Older Americans Month
May is designated as Older Americans Month. This year’s theme is “Age My Way,” which puts a spotlight on “aging in place,” or how older adults can live independently in their homes and stay involved in their communities for as long as possible. It’s important to note that aging in place looks different for everyone since every older adult has different needs and preferences. There is not one “right” way to age.
How to Celebrate Older Americans Month
Communities are stronger when people of all ages are included, welcomed, and supported. Recognizing the role older adults play in our communities will only help our communities thrive. Some things to consider in your Older Americans Month celebrations:
- Planning – think about what you will need and want from home and community-based services and community activities that interest you
- Engagement – remain involved in your community through work, volunteer, and/or civic participation opportunities
- Access – make home modifications/improvements, use assistive technologies, and customize supports to better help you age in place
- Connection – maintain social activities and relationships to avoid social isolation
The University of Michigan has a great article on ways you can adapt your home and plan ahead for aging in place. SeniorSafetyAdvice.com has a great list of specific ways to celebrate Older Americans Month with older adults in your life.
History of Older Americans Month
Older Americans Month (formerly known as Senior Citizens Month) has been celebrated since 1963. At that time, approximately one in three older Americans were living in poverty, and there was a lack of programs supporting them. Due to growing interest in caring for older Americans, President John F. Kennedy met with members of the National Council of Senior Citizens, and then proclaimed May as the month to celebrate older Americans.
Every President since Kennedy has made a similar proclamation. Typically, the proclamation asks citizens to use the month of May to celebrate contributions of past and current older adults to society, especially those who have defended our county. American citizens are asked to pay tribute to these older adults during this time. Many activities like ceremonies, fairs, and other events can be found nationwide as Older Americans Month is celebrated.
President Joe Biden’s proclamation on the 2022 Older Americans Month can be found on the White House’s website. In his proclamation, President Biden says older Americans have made “our communities stronger, more informed, and better connected.” He also states that his Administration is “committed to keeping older Americans safe and healthy as they age,” which consists of nutrition, health promotion, disease prevention, caregiver support, and long-term care services for older adults, additional Medicaid funding, improving the safety and quality of nursing home care, and a National Plan to address Alzheimer’s Disease.
More Resources for Older Americans Month
The Administration for Community Living (ACL) is the leader in this nationwide celebration. They have resources including logos you can share on social media to promote the celebration and activity ideas for ways to celebrate in your community on their website.
For some interesting stats and figures about older Americans, visit the Census’ web page for Older Americans Month.