We’ve all seen the news clips. A woman in her nineties teaching yoga. A centenarian setting a cycling record. Another centenarian teaching at an elemetary school. For these and many other older adults, the period time after retirement is a phase of life where interests, goals, and dreams can get a new or second start. And this month, communities across the country are set to honor the contributions of older Americans.
Since 1963, Older Americans Month (OAM) has been a time to learn about, support, and celebrate older Americans. According to the Administration for Community Living (ACL), this year’s theme, “Age Out Loud,” shines a light on many important trends. More than ever before, older Americans are contributing to causes, trying new things, and engaging in their communities. They’re taking charge, striving for wellness, focusing on independence, and advocating for themselves and others. What it means to age has changed, and this month is the perfect time to recognize and celebrate what getting older looks like today.
The ACL has prepared an activity guide for provider communities and other organizations looking for ways to participate. Here are some suggested activities to help you brainstorm your own event:
- Organize a group of residents to participate in a charity or volunteer project
- Start an intergenerational program with a local elementary school or scout troop
- Take the theme literally…record audio or video of your residents’ memories and stories to share with family and friends
- Print a sign and complete the sentence:
- Take a photo holding the sign
- Tweet your picture using #OAM17 or post it on the Administration on Aging Facebook page.
So take the opportunity during the month of May to focus on how older adults in your community are leading and inspiring others, how we can support and learn from them, and how we might follow their examples to age out loud.