President Obama Declares May, ‘Older Americans Month,’ Ways To Observe

President Obama has declared the month of May, Older Americans Month through a presidential proclamation. It’s a time to celebrate the achievements and contributions senior citizens make to our country. It’s also a time to focus on various issues older Americans face such as housing, health, income and consumer protection. During Older Americans Month, citizens can participate in various initiatives throughout their community to help better the lives of seniors.

President Obama discussed his commitment to older Americans through programs such as Medicare and Social Security. In his proclamation, he also discussed the commitment citizens must have towards the nation’s seniors as a whole.

“Our country has an obligation to make sure older Americans can enjoy the opportunities that come with aging, and my Administration is committed to supporting our seniors. Last summer, we held the White House Conference on Aging, where we announced our plans to modernize Federal rules affecting older Americans, improve access to workplace-based retirement plans, and better utilize technology to enrich the lives of older Americans. We launched www.Aging.gov, a resource for government-wide information for older adults to lead independent and fulfilling lives. And we have proposed updating quality and safety requirements for thousands of nursing homes, making it easier for homebound individuals to get nutritional assistance, and training more prosecutors to combat elder abuse.

“One of the best measures of a country is how it treats its older citizens. During Older Americans Month, let us pay tribute to the men and women who raised, guided, and inspired us, and let us honor their enduring contributions to our society by safeguarding their rights and the opportunities they deserve.”

The hash tag #OAM16 has been designated for those who wish to share photos and selfies of older Americans and those who work with and care for them on a regular basis to spread the message of Older Americans Month on social media networks. You can view some examples of how citizens are celebrating Older Americans Month on Twitter by utilizing the search feature for the hashtag #OAM16. The Administration on Aging is also sharing photos, updates, and ideas for those looking for ways to celebrate Older Americans Month on Facebook.

There is an official website for Older Americans Month that provides resources, history of the observance, and ideas for those who want to celebrate. The OAM site is focusing on seniors who are “blazing a trail” in 2016. There are stories shared on the site about seniors who remain active in their communities and provide a look at how seniors still contribute to society.

Those looking for ways to observe Older Americans Month can download the PDF document from the site for activity suggestions. Trailblazers are those seniors who are redefining what it means to be a senior. One activity frequently promoted through the site and online media is to host trailblazer story competitions.

With these competitions, seniors share the ways in which they remain a vital force in society and organizers can choose a winning story. Other ideas include hosting events that focus on issues older Americans face. To date, there have been numerous OAM16 luncheons hosted across the nation. These have been very successful and many seniors have participated in sharing stories, engaging in activities and participating in events associated with the luncheons.

Those interested in hosting events for Older Americans Month may find resources provided in the Event Planning guide at the official OAM website.

Are you an organizer? Do you have ideas for participating in Older Americans Month this May?

[Photo by Robert Kneschke/Shutterstock]