Older Americans Month (2021)

May 1, 2021

Read President Biden’s proclamation about Older Americans Month.

Graphic with active older people and Older Americans Month logo

In tough times, communities find strength in people—and people find strength in their communities. In the past year, we’ve seen this time and again throughout the North Shore as friends, neighbors, and businesses have found new ways to support each other.

In many cases, older adults are a key source of this strength. Through their experiences, successes, and difficulties, they have built resilience that helps them to face new challenges. When we tap into this resilience, we become stronger too.

For 58 years, Older Americans Month has been observed in May to recognize older Americans and their contributions to our communities. The 2021 theme for Older Americans Month is “Communities of Strength,” recognizing the important role older adults play in fostering the connection and engagement that build strong, resilient communities.

When people of different ages, backgrounds, abilities, and talents share experiences—through action, story, or service—we help build strong communities. And that’s something to celebrate! Please join SeniorCare in strengthening our community Here are some ways to share and connect:

  • Look for joy in the everyday: Celebrate small moments and ordinary pleasures by taking time to recognize them. Start a gratitude journal and share it with others via social media, or call a friend or family member to share a happy moment or to say thank you.
  • Reach out to neighbors: Even if you can’t get together in person right now, you can still connect with your neighbors. Leave a small gift on their doorstep, offer to help with outdoor chores, or deliver a homecooked meal.
  • Build new skills: Learning something new allows us to practice overcoming challenges. Take an art course online or try a socially distanced outdoor movement class to enjoy learning with others in your community. Have a skill to share? Find an opportunity to teach someone, even casually.
  • Share your story: There’s a reason storytelling is a time-honored activity. Hearing how others experience the world helps us grow. Interviewing family, friends, and neighbors can open up new conversations and strengthen our connections.

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 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.

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 RSVP Volunteers of the North Shore, who continued to support our community through their combined efforts during the Covid 19 crisis—including Meals on Wheels drivers, medical transportation drivers, money management volunteers, home crafters, and so many other people supporting Communities of Strength!