Older Americans Month 2024

Older Americans Month banner

Established in 1963, Older Americans Month is celebrated every May and is a time to recognize older Americans’ contributions, highlight aging trends, and reaffirm commitments to serving the older adults in our communities.

The 2024 Older Americans Month theme, “Powered by Connection,” focuses on the profound impact that meaningful connections have on the well-being and health of older adults — a relationship underscored by the U.S. Surgeon General’s Advisory on the Healing Effects of Social Connection and Community.

What can individuals do to stay connected?

  • Invite more connection into your life by finding a new passion, joining a social club, taking a class, or trying new activities in your community.
  • Stay engaged in your community by giving back through volunteering, working, teaching, or mentoring.
  • Invest time with people to build new relationships and discover deeper connections with your family, friends, colleagues, or neighbors.

How can community groups, businesses, and organizations mark Older Americans Month?

  • Spread the word about the mental, physical, and emotional health benefits of social connection through professional and personal networks.
  • Encourage social media followers to share their thoughts and stories of connection using hashtag #PoweredByConnection to inspire and uplift.
  • Promote opportunities to engage, like cultural activities, recreational programs, and interactive virtual events.
  • Connect older adults with local services, such as counseling, that can help them overcome obstacles to meaningful relationships and access to support systems.
  • Host connection-centric events or programs where older adults can serve as mentors to peers, younger adults, or youths.

The Administration for Community Living’s website includes a brief history of Older Americans Month. In 1963, President Kennedy established “Senior Citizens Month” after meeting with the National Council on Senior Citizens. At that time, only 17 million Americans had reached their 65th birthdays, and about one third of them lived in poverty, with very few programs to meet their needs.  In 1965, President Johnson signed the Older Americans Act, supporting a wide range of social services and programs for individuals aged 60 years or older.  The Older Americans Act was reauthorized through 2024 in March 2020.

Ten years after Kennedy’s establishment of Senior Citizens Month, the Older Americans Act was amended, resulting in the establishment of Area Agencies on Aging (AAA) nationwide to develop and implement programs and services for older persons at the local level. In 1980, President Carter changed the designation from “Senior Citizens Month” to “Older Americans Month.” Every President since John F. Kennedy has issued a formal proclamation during or before the month of May asking that we recognize the older persons in our communities.

In 2024, President Joseph Biden proclaimed “Older Americans have worked their whole lives to achieve the American Dream for their families and communities, making our Nation stronger and building a future of possibilities for new generations. This month, we celebrate their immense contributions to our country and stand firm in our efforts to ensure that every American can age with the dignity and financial security that they deserve.”  President Biden’s full proclamation on Older Americans Month can be read at https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/presidential-actions/2024/04/30/a-proclamation-on-older-americans-month-2024/.

As the Area Agencies on Aging for nine North Shore communities, SeniorCare remains committed to serving our elder community– providing and coordinating services to elders, enabling them to live independently at home or in a setting of their choice, while remaining part of their community. For information on SeniorCare’s services, call our Information and Referral Department at 978-281-1750 or visit www.seniorcareinc.org.

SeniorCare salutes our older Americans this and every month. Extra acknowledgement goes out to our AmeriCorps Seniors program, RSVP Volunteers of the North Shore, who continue to support our communities through their combined efforts—including Meals on Wheels drivers, medical transportation drivers, money management volunteers, home crafters, and so many others. Learn more about RSVP Volunteers of the North Shore at www.thevolunteerlink.org.