May is Older American’s Month ~ Blaze a Trail!

May is Older American’s Month ~ Blaze a Trail!

Did you know that our senior population is the fastest growing population group in America? And that worldwide the age group of 80+ is expected to more than triple between 2015 and 2050, growing from 126.5 million to 446.6 million?! By the year 2017, the world — for the first time — will have more people 65 and older than children younger than 5. With so many people coming into “elderhood”, celebrating and honoring our older adults and empowering them to contribute and live rich, quality lives in their golden years will benefit all of society.

Established in 1963, Older Americans Month (OAM) provides one way to do this, as it historically has been a time to acknowledge the contributions of past and current older persons in our country, in particular those who defended our country. Every President since Kennedy has issued a formal proclamation during or before the month of May asking that the entire nation pay tribute in some way to older persons in their communities. Older Americans Month is celebrated across the country through ceremonies, events, fairs, and other such activities.

How will you celebrate this month? We encourage you to connect with the elders in your life — your grandparents, teachers, mentors, seniors in your community and find out what events are happening in your area. You can also host an event or gathering yourself. :-)

The Administration for Community Living has a number of outreach materials. This year’s OAM theme is Blaze a Trail. We all blaze our own path in life and as an elder, what is the legacy you’ll be leaving? ACL has some tip sheets on blazing trails in the areas of civic engagement, finances, reinvention and wellness. Listed below are some past Older Americans Month themes.

Here’s to all the elders in our country and the many contributions they have brought forth throughout their lives and the wisdom they shine in their golden years.

For more information on OAM, see ACL’s news announcement.

Past Older Americans Month Themes

  • 2015—Get into the Act
  • 2014—Safe Today. Healthy Tomorrow.
  • 2013—Unleash the Power of Age
  • 2012—Never Too Old to Play
  • 2011—Older Americans: Connecting the Community
  • 2010—Age Strong! Live Long!
  • 2009—Living Today for a Better Tomorrow
  • 2008—Working Together for Strong, Healthy and Supportive Communities
  • 2007—Making Choices for a Healthier Future
  • 2006—Choices For Independence
  • 2005—Celebrate Long-term Living
  • 2004—Aging Well, Living Well
  • 2003—What We Do Makes A Difference.
  • 2002—America: “A Community for all Ages”
  • 2001—The Many Faces of Aging
  • 2000—In the New Century … The Future is Aging
  • 1999—Honor the Past, Imagine the Future: Towards a Society for All Ages
  • 1998—Living Longer, Growing Stronger in America
  • 1997—Caregiving: Compassion in Action
  • 1996—Aging: A Lifetime Opportunity
  • 1995—Aging: Generations of Experience
  • 1994—Aging: An Experience of a Lifetime
  • 1993—No theme selected (proclamation signed on May 25, 1993)
  • 1992—Community Action Begins with You: Help Older Americans Help Themselves
  • 1986—Plan on Living the Rest of Your Life
  • 1985—Help Yourself to Independence
  • 1984—Health: Make it Last a Lifetime
  • 1978—Older Americans and the Family
Our blogger Karen J. Fletcher is CHA's publications consultant. She provides technical expertise, writing and research on Medicare, health disparities and other health care issues. With a Masters in Public Health from UC Berkeley, she serves in health advocacy as a trainer and consultant. See her current articles.