May is Older American’s Month and this year will focus on how older adults can remain independent and active in their communities for as long as possible.
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 Alliance for Retired Americans 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.
Today, the Administration for Community Living (ACL) leads the nation’s observance of Older Americans Month (OAM). It promotes the independence, empowerment, and well-being of older adults, individuals with disabilities, and their caregivers adults year-round and see Older Americans Month as a way to focus on how older adults in the community are leading and inspiring others, how to support and learn from them, and how to follow their examples to blaze trails of our own.
Closer to home, the Brookhouse Home is an active community in house and we also stay connected and active in the community of Salem Our ladies engage in what Salem has to offer, its libraries, museums, parks and senior center. We suggest some possible activities listed here for seniors to do in both ones own community or at a home like ours.
Learn about its history
Older Americans Month began in 1963 when the National Council of Senior Citizens met with John F. Kennedy. The name was ultimately changed to Older Americans Month. Every May, the Administration for Community Living encourages others to honor and acknowledge the contributions of older adults in the United States. It is a time to recognize and support the diverse aging populations of our communities.
Connect with an older adult in your community.
Senior isolation has been at an all-time high with the challenges and restrictions of the COVID-19 pandemic. As communities, we can work to combat this as we begin to ease out of the pandemic. There are many ways to safely interact with older adults including phone calls, letters, emails, smaller gatherings. Everyone’s communication style is different, but we all need connection.
Want to give back? Find a local community organization, council on aging, or assisted living facility and see if there are any opportunities to volunteer. Spend your time supporting your neighbors. It makes our communities stronger when people help each other.
Stories build community and connect us (even if we can’t be physically together). Whether you’re a group of friends, a neighborhood community, or an organization, stories are a great way to learn about and engage with others. As you plan, remember that everyone has different interests, access to technology, and comfort levels. The best sharing activities are those where people feel encouraged and at ease.
A special event is a great way to celebrate, share resources, and connect with community members. There are countless approaches to this kind of activity, many of which can be done virtually. Always follow local health and safety guidance for your event. No matter the size of your group or style of your event, our event planning tips can help you think through the process.
Celebrate and engage with your community by organizing a project where members can contribute individually before their work is combined to create the final masterpiece. This is a great way to produce something to showcase, either in person or online. Before selecting a project, consider polling your participants to see where their talents and interests lie.