Older Americans Month: Its history and our presence

older Americans month logo 2020

It seems like every month and day has its “dedicated” name.  Whether it’s Christmas, Earth Day, or Black History Month, a person can feel special on any given day. Did you know May is Older Americans Month? You might ask yourself… “what exactly does that even mean?” An older American is defined as 60 years or older and they reside in the United States. This also means the whole month of May we celebrate our older Americans! There are a variety of ways you can celebrate your neighbor, sister, mother, brother, grandpa, etc. Just think for a moment, how did we even get to this point? I’m glad you asked.

“When Older Americans Month was established in 1963, only 17 million living Americans had reached their 65th birthday. About a third of older Americans lived in poverty and there were few programs to meet their needs. Interest in older Americans and their concerns was growing. A meeting in April 1963 between President John F. Kennedy and members of the National Council of Senior Citizens led to designating May as “Senior Citizens Month,” the prelude to “Older Americans Month.”

“Historically, Older Americans Month has been a time to acknowledge the contributions of past and current older persons to 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.” This information was found on acl.gov

As we celebrate older Americans, we need to remember they are the reason why we are here. We are constantly learning from them and gaining an infinite amount of knowledge from them. Take the time out of your day to make a phone call to your grandma, take her flowers, even a letter in the mail. Especially with COVID-19 happening, a lot of our older Americans are stuck at home with little interaction with others.  

As you may have noticed, the O’Neill Center activities are cancelled for the moment. This means older Americans are missing out on their socializing skills and keeping their brains engaged. We want to encourage everyone to take advantage of what we ARE offering. Did you know we offer grocery and prescription delivery? Many in our communities even receive a box of groceries delivered to their home in an effort to help them reduce their outings. We have been electronically sending out a Daily Blizzard Bag to keep your mind, body, and soul moving while we can’t be in the center.  Soon, we will be offering virtual programming! This will include live exercises, bingo, socializing thru the web, history, etc. Be sure to check your inbox or monitor our website for details.

We can celebrate Older Americans Month by helping out and checking in on others. Do you want more information or have questions on whether we offer something? Give us a call at 740-373-3914 or send us an email at info@oneillcenter.com