May is Older Americans Month—a tradition dating back to 1963 to honor the legacies and ongoing contributions of older Americans and support them as they enter the next stage in life.
This year’s Older Americans Month theme—Age Strong! Live Long!—recognizes the diversity and vitality of today’s older Americans who span three generations. They have lived through wars and hard times, as well as periods of unprecedented prosperity. They pioneered new technologies in medicine, communications, and industry while spearheading a cultural revolution that won equal rights for minorities, women, and disabled Americans.
These remarkable achievements demonstrate the strength and character of older Americans, and underscore the debt of gratitude we owe to the generations that have given our society so much. But the contributions of older Americans are not only in the past.
Older Americans are living longer and are more active than ever before. And with the aging of the baby boomer generation—the largest in our nation’s history—America’s senior population is expected to number 71.5 million by 2030.
While keeping the growing population of older Americans healthy and active will increase the demand for senior services, what is remarkable is the extent to which older Americans themselves are supporting each other. As the new generations of seniors become better educated and more financially secure than their predecessors, they are spending more time making significant contributions in their communities through civic and volunteer opportunities.
In fact, older Americans are a core component of service delivery to seniors—embodying and modeling the drive to Age Strong! Live Long! They volunteer at group meal sites and deliver food to homebound seniors; they act as escorts and provide transportation for older adults who cannot drive; they help seniors with home repair, shopping and errands; and they provide vital counseling, information and referral services. Their energy and commitment reminds all Americans—not just senior citizens and their caregivers—to do their part to enhance the quality of life for older generations.
The annual commemoration of Older Americans Month is our opportunity to recognize the contributions of older citizens and join them in providing services and support that empower the elderly. Americans of all ages and backgrounds can volunteer with programs that improve health literacy, increase access to quality health services, offer food and nutrition services, provide financial and housing counseling, sponsor social activities and community engagement, and more.
Contact your local Area Agency on Aging by visiting http://www.eldercare.gov or calling 1-800-677-1116 to find out what you can do to strengthen services for older Americans, this month and all year round.
Visit us at www.nwhc.care for information and assistance with elder care for an aging loved one in the East San Gabriel CA area.