Older Americans Month is an annual event that honors older Americans and celebrates the contributions they have made, and continue to make, to the nation and their communities.
Older Americans Month is an annual month-long observance that occurs every year in May and was first established in 1963. Since then, it has become a tradition that is repeated every year.
President John F. Kennedy designated May as Senior Citizens Month, which was later renamed Older Americans Month.
In April 1963, President John F. Kennedy met with the National Council of Senior Citizens to learn more about the needs and concerns of older Americans.
Following that meeting, President Kennedy issued a presidential proclamation designating May as Senior Citizens Month, encouraging the nation to pay tribute in some way to older people across the country. In 1980, President Jimmy Carter changed the name to Older Americans Month.
When President Kennedy established Older Americans Month in 1963, 17 million Americans were age 65 or older, about a third of those seniors lived in poverty, and there were few programs to meet their needs. Two years later, in 1965, Congress passed the Older Americans Act to address the lack of community social services for older people in the United States. The original legislation authorized the federal government to make grants to the states for community planning and social services, research and development projects, and personnel training in the field of aging.
The Older Americans Act also established the U.S. Administration on Aging (AoA) to administer the newly created grant programs and to serve as the primary federal agency on issues concerning older Americans.
Every U.S. president since John F. Kennedy has issued a formal presidential proclamation either before or during the month of May, asking the nation to celebrate Older Americans Month by finding some way to honor the older Americans in their communities.
Every year, the U.S. Administration on Aging creates a new theme for Older Americans Month—one that highlights a different aspect of the lives of older Americans and their relationship to their communities. May is a month of fresh beginnings. Perennials bloom once again, blazing a trail of bright color. The 2016 OAM theme is Blaze a Trail.
Perhaps the most important and effective way to celebrate Older Americans Month is to do something direct and personal with the seniors you know and care about.
We wanted to show you this lovely video from The Catholic Health Association of the United States [CHAUSA]. If an ad comes up at the beginning of the video, click the X in the top right hand corner to make it go away. We hope you enjoy the video.