On April 28, 2017, President Trump officially declared May 2017 as Older Americans Month. Celebrating Older Americans Month is one way to remind us to keep up advocacy efforts and honor this cohort’s significant accomplishments and contributions to our society.
The Proclamation states: “As we celebrate Older Americans Month, we take the opportunity to thank our seniors and recognize the enormous contributions they make to the Nation. We are blessed to have their presence, their love, and their unmatched perspective for our families.”
The Administration on Community Living (ACL) has chosen an appropriate tagline for the 2017 Older Americans Month: Age Out Loud. The ACL says it is “intended to give aging a new voice, one that reflects what today’s older adults have to say about aging.”
Older adults today work longer, are more amenable to trying new things and are engaging in their communities, both politically and philanthropically. They’re advocating for themselves and remaining independent for longer, as well as adopting healthier lifestyles. They expect to live for a long time and to the fullest, as they go about changing what it means to age, which is why the Age Out Loud campaign emphasizes “know your rights,” “stay engaged,” “strive for wellness” and “explore new things.”
When President John F. Kennedy established Older Americans Month (then called Senior Citizens Month) in 1963, only 17 million living Americans had lived to age 65. At the time, there were few programs to help older adults and a third of this cohort lived in poverty. Although the situation has changed for the better in many ways, older adults in our nation still face many hurdles to living long, happy lives.
The Proclamation acknowledges these challenges, stating, “As we age, many of us will need more assistance from our friends and family. We therefore recommit ourselves to ensuring that older Americans are not neglected or abused, receive the best healthcare available, live in suitable homes, have adequate income and economic opportunities, and enjoy freedom and independence in their golden years. They deserve—and we owe them—nothing less.”
Click here for the full text of the Proclamation. For more information, materials and activity/event ideas to celebrate Older Americans Month, visit the ACL website; official hashtags are #OAM17 and #AgeOutLoud.