Older adults play vital, positive roles in our communities – as family members, friends, mentors, volunteers, civic leaders, members of the workforce, and more. Just as every person is unique, so too is how they age and how they choose to do it – and there is no “right” way. That’s why the theme for Older Americans Month 2022 is Age My Way.
Every May, the Administration for Community Living, a branch of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, leads the celebration of Older Americans Month. This year’s theme focuses on how older adults can age in their communities, living independently for as long as possible and participating in ways they choose.
While Age My Way will look different for each person, here are common things everyone can consider:
- Planning: Think about what you will need and want in the future, from home and community-based services to community activities that interest you.
- Engagement: Remain involved and contribute to your community through work, volunteer, and/or civic participation opportunities.
- Access: Make home improvements and modifications, use assistive technologies, and customize supports to help you better age in place.
- Connection: Maintain social activities and relationships to combat social isolation and stay connected to your community.
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 National Council of Senior Citizens 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.
President Biden issued a proclamation acknowledging Older Americans Month 2022 that read “During Older Americans Month, we honor our Nation’s seniors and the tremendous impact they have made in helping build a more perfect Union. Older Americans contribute their time and wisdom to make our communities stronger, more informed, and better connected. They are our loved ones, friends, mentors, essential workers, volunteers, and neighbors. We celebrate their achievements and recommit to providing our elders with the support and services they need to thrive and age with dignity.” (Read the full proclamation at https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/presidential-actions/2022/04/29/a-proclamation-on-older-americans-month-2022/.)
Diverse communities are strong communities. Ensuring that older adults remain involved and included in our communities for as long as possible benefits everyone. Please join SeniorCare in strengthening our community. Keep in touch with the older members of your family and neighborhood. Follow SeniorCare on social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn). Visit our website www.seniorcareinc.org and learn more about our mission to serve the older community of the North Shore.
For more information, visit the official Older Americans Month website (www.acl.gov/oam), follow the Administration for Community Living on Twitter and Facebook, and join the conversation using #OlderAmericansMonth.