May is Older Americans Month, a perfect opportunity to show our appreciation for the older adults in our communities.
When Older Americans Month was established in 1963, only 17 million living Americans had reached their 65th birthdays. 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, however. In April of 1963, President John F. Kennedy’s meeting with the National Council of Senior Citizens served as a prelude to designating May as “Senior Citizens Month.” Thanks to President Jimmy Carter’s 1980 designation, what was once called Senior Citizens Month, is now called “Older Americans Month,“ and has become a proud tradition that shows our nation’s commitment to recognizing the contributions and achievements of older Americans.
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 JFK 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.
Each May, the nation celebrates Older Americans Month to recognize older Americans for their contributions and provide them with information to help them stay healthy and active. Older Americans Month is celebrated across the country through ceremonies, events, fairs, and other such activities. This years celebration encourages older Americans to stay engaged, active and involved in their own lives and in their communities.
This year the organization is focusing on injury prevention with the theme “Safe Today. Healthy Tomorrow.”
Older adults are at a much higher risk of unintentional injury and even death than the rest of the population. Unintentional injuries to this population result in at least 6 million medically treated injuries and more than 30,000 deaths every year. By taking control of their safety, older Americans can live longer, healthier lives.