In 1963, The Administration for Community Living (ACL), through the Department of Health and Human Services, named May Older Americans Month, so we can both honor and learn about better ways to care for our seniors. That year, only 17 million Americans were still living over the age of 65. According to the Census Bureau report in 2010, there were 40.3 million living well into their golden years.
Many seniors dealt with poverty in decades past, when many of the programs that aide them today didn't exist yet. We know a lot more now about health and medical sciences, as well. Even though living conditions have gotten better over the years, it's still important to keep learning about new ways for Americans to live long and happy lives.
A good quote to remember is, "Don't regret growing old, it's a privilege denied to many", because it reminds us that we are all mortal, and we should try to live a full life, no matter how old you are. You're never too old to try something you've never done before.
Older Americans Month has historically been a time to honor and acknowledge the great things older generations have done for our country. Memorial day falls at the end of May, so it seems fitting to thank a senior Vet who served or fought during a war.
Every American president since JFK has formally urged everyone to pay tribute to seniors during the month of May, as well as during every other month of the year. Just like all awareness months, this is a theme reserved for one month that is meant to draw attention to something, so that we can appreciate it even more for the rest of the year.
Every Older Americans Month for the last 50 years has had a theme. In 2014, the theme was "Safe Today. Healthy Tomorrow.", with a focus on raising awareness of all the dangers that you might be overlooking, in your home as well as anywhere you go.
This year, 2015, this May's theme is called "Get into the Act", with a focus on seniors staying active in their communities, to stay happy and healthy. Building and maintaining strong communities is important for the well-being of people of all ages. It can help keep kids out of trouble – or at least, not in as much trouble and give seniors something to do to keep from getting bored.
Having something important to do is proven to keep retired individuals healthy much longer than if they were staying inactive every day. Seniors are encouraged now more than ever, to also help look out for each other to prevent serious issues like elder abuse.
As always, The ACL will be promoting healthy aging, as well as increasing involvement in the community this May. The cold months are over in most parts of the country, so now is the perfect time to get out and get involved. Check out ACL.gov for more information about what you can do this Older Americans Month.