Older Americans Month, established in May 1963, is a time to acknowledge the contributions that past and current older people have made and continue to make to our country. Maybe it’s advocating for seniors. Maybe it’s working to redefine what “old” means. Or maybe it’s finding new ways to enjoy old passions. Every president since Kennedy has issued a presidential proclamation stressing the importance of acknowledging the efforts of older Americans.
This month, take note of the roles older people play in our nation’s economy, politics, and the arts. From 69-year-old NASA Administrator Charles Bolden, Jr. to 84-year-old actress Rita Moreno to 83-year-old Ruth Bader Ginsberg, who took her seat as a Supreme Court Justice at age 60, older adults are blazing trails in all aspects of American life.
This year’s theme, “Blaze a Trail,” emphasizes the ways older adults are reinventing themselves through new work and new interests, engaging their communities, and blazing a trail of positive impact on the lives of people of all ages.
Getting older is a natural part of life. To get the most out of your life as you age, it helps to try to get healthier and stay healthier. Healthy aging means exercise, proper nutrition, taking any medications as prescribed, and staying on top of your health care. When you take care of yourself, you are better able to help others.
If you want to get involved in helping others, here are some ideas you might try in your community:
- Organize a trail walk in an accessible location. It can be indoors or out. You could set up stations staffed by people who can help with financial security, wellness, and other topics of concern.
- Set up a volunteer group. Seek older adults who want to give back to your community. Plan an activity such as picking up trash, gardening in public areas, collecting donations for charity, painting walls in a school, or supporting local services.
- Encourage connections. Young people and older adults can connect through activities with local school or community groups, such as Boys and Girls Clubs, YMCAs, academic clubs, and more. Invite older adults to tutor and mentor students. Have students interview and write about older community members. Get teenagers to volunteer in senior centers, help neighbors with yard work, or just visit.
You can find more ideas on the official Older Americans Month Info Tip Sheets. If you’re looking for an excuse to get started, now you have it. Get out there and connect, make a difference, and blaze your own trail!