May is Older Americans Month and its theme “Engage at Every Age” emphasizes you are never too old (or young) to take part in activities that can enrich your physical, mental and emotional well-being. It also celebrates the many ways in which older adults make a difference in our communities.
As citizens in our country age, it’s important to recognize they are defined not by their chronological age, but by their life experiences. More than ever before, older Americans are working longer, trying new things and engaging in their communities. They’re taking charge, striving for wellness, focusing on independence and advocating for themselves and others.
What it means to age has changed, and this year’s Older American Month is a perfect opportunity to recognize and celebrate what getting older looks like today.
The history of Older Americans Month dates back to 1963 when only 17 million living Americans had reached their 65th birthday. There was growing interest in seniors so President John F. Kennedy and members of the National Council of Senior Citizens designated May as “Senior Citizens Month.” This was the prelude to “Older Americans Month.” Historically, Older Americans Month has been a time to acknowledge the contributions of past and current older people 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 the nation to pay tribute in some way to older persons in their communities.
Our AAHAM members are wonderful mentors to our younger, newer members. They offer a wealth of wisdom and experience and are more than willing to share this and more with our next generation of leaders. This is one of many benefits found from belonging to our association that may not be fully appreciated or tapped.
Let’s celebrate how older adults are taking charge of their health, getting engaged in their communities and making a positive impact in the lives of others. Celebrate Older Americans Month in May and beyond!