Get Into the Act: Older Americans Month
In 1963, May was given the label of Senior Citizens Month, which was later changed to Older Americans Month. According to the Administration for Community Living (ACL), at the time that President Kennedy made the determination, “only 17 million living Americans had reached their 65th birthday.” With that, however, nearly a third of older Americans lived in poverty, and all faced a dismal shortage of social programs and government assistance.
That began to change with Older Americans Month. People were encouraged to value the contributions of their community’s current and past senior citizens, and each year May plays host to a different theme.
This year’s Older Americans Month has been given the theme: Get Into The Act. The purpose, according to the ACL, is “to focus on how older adults are taking charge of their health, getting engaged in their communities, and making a positive impact in the lives of others.”
Here are just some of the ways you can engage seniors in your home or community to “Get Into the Act”:
- Cook a healthy meal as a group at least once a week.
- Exercise as a group – whether that means a jog or a simple walk around the grounds, exercise is a key factor in taking charge of your health.
- Engage someone at the end of each day. This month is about making a positive impact on the lives of others, so try and chat with someone you haven’t caught up with recently, or someone new. You never know, it could lead to the start of a great friendship!
In addition, 2015 marks the 50th anniversary of President Lyndon B. Johnson’s signing of the Older Americans Act. The ACL notes that “the Act has provided a nationwide aging services network and funding that helps older adults live with dignity in the communities of their choice for as long as possible. These services include home-delivered and congregate meals, caregiver support, community-based assistance, preventive health services, elder abuse prevention, and much more.”