May is Older Americans Month
The month of May finds many of us enjoying springtime while the weather is warm and pleasant in anticipation of the joys and challenges of what might be a long, hot summer here in Central Texas.
So along with the nice weather, May is also designated as Older Americans Month. The contributions of older Americans were first formally acknowledged in 1963 when President John F. Kennedy declared May 1963 as “Senior Citizens Month.” Back in 1963 only 17 million people fit the definition of a senior citizen. Since that time, it has been celebrated throughout the country with events and activities focusing on the unique role that older adults play in our society.
So, what has changed since the days of JFK? Well, for one thing, the US Census Bureau reported that the number of people 65+ has more than doubled to over 41 million in 2011. This number is expected to more than double again to reach more 92 million by 2060.
Another change is the observation that there seems to be a shift in the terminology from “senior citizens” to “seniors” to “older adults” or “older Americans.” No matter what name you give the folks in this demographic group, it’s certainly not a shrinking population. Older Americans currently account for 14.5% of the general population and by 2030 it is expected to swell to 19%.
The year’s theme for the monthly celebration is Engage in Every Age. If you or someone you love is a member of this elite group of Americans, check out Older Americans Month at https://oam.gov for how we honor older Americans not only in May, but every day.
Be sure to continue to check our blog here at Assisting Hands as we feature programs and initiatives that support older adults.
Written by Terri Knox, RN, CDE