Older Americans Month

logo for Older Americans MonthEvery year since 1963, the month of May has been a time to appreciate and celebrate the vitality and aspirations of older adults and their contributions to our communities. Celebrating Older Americans Month puts a spotlight on the important role that Older Americans have played for the last 50 years.

May is a month of fresh beginnings. Perennials bloom once again, blazing a trail of bright color. May is also when we celebrate Older American’s Month (OAM), acknowledging the perennial contributions of older adults to our nation. The 2016 theme is Blaze a Trail. The Aging Network of service providers will use this opportunity to raise awareness about important issues facing older adults. We will also highlight the ways that older Americans are advocating for themselves, their peers, and their communities.

Throughout the month, local senior centers will be conducting activities and providing tips on how to access programs, resources, and opportunities that are designed to maximize the independence of older adults in our community.

Older Americans Month is our opportunity to show our appreciation and support for older adults as they continue to enrich and strengthen our communities. Senior Centers are celebrating with a variety of festivities, special activities, and events.

Older adults are more active in community life than ever before, thanks in part to advances in health care, education, technology, and financial stability over the last several decades that have greatly increased their vitality and standard of living. Older adults are giving back and making a difference in their community.

Older adults are stepping up to help one another. Across the country, they connect with others by delivering meals, helping with home repair, assisting with shopping, and offering companionship, counseling, and care. Their efforts remind us that when older adults are active and engaged in their communities, everyone benefits.

Help us celebrate Older Americans Month. Join your neighbors not only to recognize what older adults bring to our communities, but also to help them continue playing a vital role in weaving a unique and lasting community fabric.

Call your local senior center for more information about their activities and programs for senior adults.

Recently, President Obama signed the Older Americans Act Reauthorization Act of 2016 into law, reaffirming our nation's commitment to the health and well-being of older adults. Earlier this year, the President called on Congress to reauthorize this important legislation as part of his remarks at the White House Conference on Aging.

For more than 50 years, the Older Americans Act has helped people live the lives they want, with the people they choose, throughout their lives. Through the aging services network, it has helped older adults continue to work, play and volunteer in their communities, to the great benefit of all. Because of the Older Americans Act, neighborhoods and organizations across the country are able to continue to draw upon the wealth of knowledge that comes only with life experience.

The OAA underpins a promise to preserve the right to live independently, with dignity, making everyday decisions according to our individual preferences and goals across our lifespan. This promise is more important than ever. In a few short years, more than 77 million people will be over the age of 60, and more than 34 million people- mostly family and friends- will be supporting a loved one who is over 60. These numbers will continue to grow for the next several decades.

The OAA affects everyone- older adults, people who help support them, and all of us who hope to one day grow old. I am delighted to see its reauthorization, and I am deeply grateful for the renewed commitment to preserving the rights of all people, for the full course of our lives.

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