May is Older Americans Month
Annually since 1963, Older Americans Month has rallied communities across the country in celebrating the contribution and achievements of American seniors. “Never Too Old to Play” is the theme of this May’s celebratory month honoring the experience, wisdom and understanding that older adults pass on to other generations. According to the Administration on Aging, approximately 40 million senior adults—people 65 years or older—live in America, comprising 13 percent of the U.S. population. One of every eight Americans is a senior citizen, and this number is expected to reach 72.1 million older persons by 2030.
This year’s Older Americans Month salutes the spirited endeavors of an increasing number of older people who volunteer and participate in community service groups, faith-based organizations, arts and recreational groups, and online social networking.
“We applaud the priceless contributions that older adults bring to our communities,” said Steve Nowak, vice president of Right at Home of Stark County. “Grandparents and elder adults help shape the values, achievements and choices of our young people and they lend inspiration and stability to our nation as a whole. Many of them helped fight for the freedoms we enjoy today.” Right at Home is a leading provider of in-home companion and personal care to senior citizens and other adults.
As an increased number of older Americans are living longer and healthier lives, they continue to engage in social, creative and physical activities. The proven health benefits of staying active include retaining mobility, muscle mass and cognitive abilities. But older adults are not the only ones who benefit from their engagement in community life. Studies show their interactions with family, friends and neighbors across generations enrich the lives of everyone involved. Here are suggestions for recognizing and appreciating older adults during May and throughout the year:
• Enjoy a leisurely phone call to an elderly friend or relative
• Visit with a senior in person and do something you both enjoy (drink coffee, watch a classic movie, look through photo albums)
• Bring over a home-cooked or carryout meal and eat together
• Offer to help out around the home and yard
• Plan a fun social activity or take a recreational/arts class together
• Make a things-yet-to-enjoy “bucket list” and together help each other tackle your lists
• Keep in regular touch through visits, calls, cards and social media
As part of Older Americans Month, every person is encouraged to interact with at least one senior and enjoy more playful social interactions such as games, sports, contests and other forms of intergenerational engagement. Possible fun activities include board games, swimming, bowling, cooking, baking, going to movies, taking nature walks, volunteering with a community service group and reading to young children.
“Right at Home of Stark County provides services, support and resources to older Americans year-round and commends all seniors throughout the country who help keep our nation strong and rich with traditions and optimism,” said Nowak. “Older Americans Month is a wonderful opportunity to show special appreciation for some of our most beloved citizens.” To find ongoing opportunities to celebrate and support older Americans, contact your local Area Agency on Aging by visiting www.eldercare.gov or calling 1-800-677-1116.