Older Americans Month 2016
May is a month of fresh beginnings. Perennials bloom once again, blazing a trail of bright color. May is also when we celebrate Older American’s Month (OAM), acknowledging the perennial contributions of older adults to our nation. (www.oam.act.gov)
Older adults are a growing and increasingly vital part of our country. The contributions they make to our communities are varied, deeply rooted, and include influential roles in the nation’s economy, politics, and the arts. From 69-year-old NASA Administrator Charles Bolden, Jr. to 84-year-old actress Rita Moreno to 83-year-old Ruth Bader Ginsberg, who took her seat as a Supreme Court Justice at age 60, older adults are blazing trails in all aspects of American life.
In 1963, we began to acknowledge the contributions of older people by using the month of May to celebrate Older Americans Month (OAM). Led by the Administration for Community Living, the annual observance offers the opportunity to learn about, support, and celebrate our nation’s older citizens. This year’s theme, “Blaze a Trail,” emphasizes the ways older adults are reinventing themselves through new work and new passions, engaging their communities, and blazing a trail of positive impact on the lives of people of all ages.
While East Central Illinois Area Agency on Aging provides OAA funding for services to older adults year-round, we will use the Older Americans Month 2016 to focus on how older adults in our community are leading and inspiring others, how we can support and learn from them, and how we might follow their examples to blaze trails of our own. Here’s to “Blazing Our Own Trail!”
History of Older Americans Month
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. (www.acl.gov)
May 3, 2016
Celebrating Trailblazers for OAM 16!
In honor of Older Americans Month, we are celebrating trailblazers across the nation—older adults as well as those working with and for them. Americans are leading, supporting, engaging, and trailblazing in countless areas of life, from the creative arts to abuse prevention. Are you an OAM trailblazer? Do you know other people who are?
We want to hear from and about you! Follow the link to for details and examples: http://oam.acl.gov/2016/selfies.html