Celebrating The 50th Anniversary Of Older Americans Month
May 4, 2013

Unleash The Power Of Age: May Is Older Americans Month

redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports - Your Universe Online

Older US residents are being challenged to “Unleash The Power Of Age” over the next several weeks as the nation marks the 50th anniversary of Older Americans Month this May.

According to the US Department of Health and Human Service (HHS) Administration On Aging (AoA), Older Americans Month was first established by President John F. Kennedy in 1963. At that time, the celebration was known as Senior Citizen´s Month and came at a time when only 17 million living Americans were at least 65 years of age.

Senior Citizen´s Month became Older American´s Month in 1980, thanks to President Jimmy Carter, and since then it has been “a time to acknowledge the contributions of past and current older persons to our country, in particular those who defended our country,” AoA officials explained on the event´s official website.

Every President over the past five decades has issued a formal proclamation commemorating the month during or before the start of May, asking that the entire country find some way to pay tribute to and recognize the accomplishments of local elders who have remained active, productive and influential members of the community. In the past, the event has been celebrated through ceremonies, fairs, and other community events.

“This May, we mark the 50th anniversary of Older Americans Month,” HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said Friday in a statement. “Ever since President Kennedy declared the first celebration in 1963, we have honored the contributions seniors make to our communities and have celebrated their rich years and experiences.

“This year´s theme, ℠Unleash the Power of Age,´ acknowledges older Americans´ special abilities and know-how and encourages them to share them. We´re also reminded that all Americans benefit from having older adults in their lives,” she added. “Thinking back to my own family and friends, the seniors I´ve been blessed to know have constantly enriched my life. They´ve taught me how important it is to share experiences across generations and open up opportunities to learn from each other.”

The AoA is also encouraging people to use social media to mark the occasion. Pinterest users have been invited to visit, link to, and pin content from the agency´s official Pinterest board during the month of May. Facebook users are being encouraged to become a fan of the AoA, tag them in Facebook posts by typing “AdministrationOnAging,” and commenting on the organization´s timeline page. Twitter users, meanwhile, are being asked to use the hashtags “#UnleashAge” or “#OAM2013” to mark content which highlights Older Americans Month.

Last year, the theme for Older Americans Month 2012 was “Never Too Old to Play,” according to the Area Agency on Aging of Pasco-Pinellas. The 2012 event emphasized “the important role older adults play in sharing their experience, wisdom, and understanding,” they said, while also recognizing “the value that older adults continue to bring to our communities through spirited participation in social and faith groups, service organizations, and other activities.”