Welcome to the month of May!
It’s a time when we welcome blossoming flowers, warmer temperatures and the observance of Older Americans Month. In the next few days, aging services providers across the country will tip their hats to this annual event — perhaps going so far as to plan a promotion around it — yet we find that most providers don’t understand the history and true purpose of the celebration.
Older Americans Month was established in 1963 to support and recognize the small population of Americans aged 65 and over at that time. Fifty-five years later, if Older Americans Month were a person, it could join AARP and would probably start getting mailers about your communities and services. The impetus for the creation of the observance came from the National Council of Senior Citizens who worked with then-president John F. Kennedy to establish Senior Citizens Month, which has evolved over time into the annual event we know today. Starting with JFK, every president since has issued a formal proclamation, asking that the nation pay tribute to older Americans in some way — whether through a ceremony, a fair or some other activity.
The program is now under the purview of the Administration on Aging, in partnership with other agencies and entities. Each year, a theme is determined, with supporting materials provided to help community leaders recognize older Americans for their lives and service. The theme for 2018 is “Engage at Every Age,” which aims to emphasize that you are never too old (or too young) to take part in activities that can enrich your life. Specifically, the program is shining a light on mental and physical wellness this year, including traditional exercise-based ideas, as well as more unusual ones, like establishing a mentoring relationship.
We encourage you to explore the website for Older Americans Month and make use of all of the resources provided. The outline great ideas for programs that can help energize your residents and team members, as well as the greater community that your organization serves.
Remember: If you are posting about Older Americans Month on social media, use the hashtag #oma18! to share all of the great things you are doing!