Every year, seniors across the country make positive contributions throughout our communities and have an important impact on our lives which is why AmeriCare proudly celebrates Older Americans Month, 2019!
Older adults contribute immensely to our nation – they help with family care, volunteer in our communities, and help to guide younger generations. It is clear they deserve a month to honor and recognize their place in our lives. Older American Month (OAM) is celebrated throughout May each year and is used to highlight their many contributions to our society.
OAM is led by Administration for Community Living (ACL) and is designed to provide important resources to help American seniors stay healthy and independent.
For 2019, the OAM theme is Connect, Create, Contribute.
We encourage you to:
Connect with friends, family, and everyone who supports Older American Month participation.
Create activities that promote learning, health, and personal development.
Contribute your time, talents, skills, and experience that will benefit the community.
AmeriCare celebrates OAM by promoting ways that community members of all ages can partake in helping older adults thrive.
How Seniors Contribute to Society
For many, many years aging was associated with passivity. However, seniors today are staying active late into their golden years. Take a look at the following ways seniors are impacting communities today:
The elderly (65 and over) make up 23% of all American volunteers. Not only that, older adults devote more hours per year to volunteering than any other age group – about 96 hours, on average, each year!
Teaching Rare Skills
Many seniors have rare skills such as wood carving, knitting, and leather work. Many seniors teach these skills at libraries or schools, helping to connect and engage with younger populations.
Impacting the Economy and Formal Sector
Older adults account for 15% of the American population and this segment is projected to hit 98.2 million by 2060. While “senior years” are often associated with retirement, seniors still contribute significantly to the formal sector. Seniors contribute an estimated $8.3 million to the labor force and even make up 15.6% of all business owners. In as much, about 78.5% of older adults own their own homes.
Various businesses that provide services to seniors employ about a million people and contribute $34 billion to the economy every year.
Sharing Experiences and Perspectives
Across the country, seniors help to mentor younger people through churches, schools, or for non-profit organizations. On a more personal level, seniors also share wisdom with their children, grandchildren, and other members of the community through outreach groups.
How You Can Celebrate OAM in 2019
Senior residents in your community can be celebrated using the Connect, Create, and Contribute theme. To help encourage our communities to celebrate our seniors, AmeriCare has compiled a few ways to facilitate and get involved:
Organize Range Birthday Parties
You can honor seniors by organizing a non-conventional birthday like 60+ or 70+ for a group of seniors. All seniors who fall within the age bracket can be celebrated at a special party. The event may include a special luncheon, desserts, a dance, and entertainment in a public facility or dining room. Consider sharing OAM inscribed souvenirs with those in attendance.
Coordinate Story Circles
Encourage older adults to share their life stories about a topic of interest with others in the community. Encourage seniors to share their life experiences with others at local libraries, schools, or even businesses like cafes or restaurants.
Other options for connecting during OAM include:
Planning a virtual date or a game night for seniors in your community to connect and socialize.
Attend events at senior centers in your neighborhood
Organize Digital Classes
Some seniors have challenges keeping up with rapidly changing technology. You can help them get comfortable with new tech by organizing classes on the use of computers, social media, and the internet for connecting and accessing valuable information.
Host Skill Workshops
Seniors could benefit from lessons about career opportunities, personal finance, nutrition, and safety. Get experts to discuss these topics at an event for older adults. To truly fit the theme, try to find a senior within the community to lead the workshop.
Other ideas for Older American Month 2019 create include:
- Developing a virtual community for seniors to share ideas and stories while socializing with others.
- Setting up a center to inform seniors about available services and support in your community.
Contributing to the OAM could take various forms including:
Organize Community Activities
You may organize neighborhood a cleaning or beautification project, a public garden program, or participate in fundraising for causes affecting seniors to raise awareness for OAM.
Promote Volunteer Groups
Several organizations contribute to, and promote, senior welfare. Use OAM to recognize these organizations at community events or the media.
Share on Social Media
Use #OAM19 to promote the event on your social accounts such as Facebook and Twitter throughout May. There are also free social media images and posters about OAM that you can share with your followers to celebrate older adults.
Throughout OAM and beyond, you should make a personal commitment to create, engage, and contribute to senior causes to build a stronger community. AmeriCare and all of our caregivers celebrate and honor our seniors this month during OAM, and every month!