Since 1963, Older Americans Month has been celebrated during the month of May. This celebration became a designated month as a result of the realization that persons age 65 and older did not have significant programs to meet their needs. In the early 1960s, only about 17 million Americans were 65 or older, and about one-third of them lived in poverty without resources available to help them.
The National Council on Aging encouraged President John F. Kennedy to designate the month of May as "Senior Citizens Month."It was a much-needed proclamation for the growing interest and concern for this demographic.
Today the charge for recognizing older Americans and their contributions marches on through the Administration on Aging. Now known as "Older Americans Month," the month of May is set aside to acknowledge the contributions of the senior population to our communities.
The theme for 2020 is "Make Your Mark." This theme was chosen to celebrate the countless contributions that older adults make to our communities. Their time, experience, and talents benefit our families and neighbors every day.
This year's theme highlights the difference everyone can make – in the lives of older adults, in support of caregivers, and to strengthen communities. It is especially important to recognize the positive contributions of our seniors as we work to protect them during the COVID-19 crisis.
For older Americans, learning a new skill is a fantastic way to stay engaged mentally. The options are endless and can includes hobbies like sewing, gardening, wood-working, or going back to school to learn a new career skill set.
Older Americans who are still physically able may consider starting a new health regimen such as yoga, Pilates, or other low-impact activities. A regular routine of physical activity, whether it is a daily walk through the neighborhood or something more intense, can also sharpen the mind.
Every older adult has a lifetime of experience and wisdom to share. Celebrate this month by recognizing and thanking a senior citizen who has done something that personally inspires you. A personal note to an older person thanking them for the work they did in your community or your field of interest can make their day. Ask questions and learn about their life and what stories they have to share. Share photos of how the older Americans in your life are engaged at every age!