How old is Older Americans Month? It’s interesting to learn about this as we recognize that the average person now has a better chance of living to be 100 than in previous generations.
Back in 1963 when Older Americas Month was established, around 17 million Americans had reached their 65th birthday and there were few services devoted to this population. President John F. Kennedy met with members of the National Council of Senior Citizens to create a month devoted to this special group of people. Initially it was focused on recognizing those who made a significant contribution to their country, such as members of the military.
Each year, the current president issues a proclamation before Older Americans Month asking that everyone pay tribute to or recognize an older person in their community.
There are a lot more older Americans to recognize today than there were in 1963! According to the Administration on Aging, people age 65 and older represented 14.1% of the population in 2013 (or one in every seven Americans). They project this number will more than double by 2060, and 21.7% of the population by 2040.
As people live longer, attitudes about aging are changing too. The idea that someone’s life is over at retirement or after a certain age is, well, old, and nowadays people are starting second careers or in other embracing second chapters in life instead.
During Older Americans Month, if you’re of a certain age, you may want to blaze your own new trail by volunteering with a local organization, improving your well-being, securing your finances or reinventing yourself by reviewing what really inspires and excites you.
Embarking on these new tasks can have benefits for you, such as “greater life satisfaction” from volunteering according to the Administration on Aging as well as making new relationships and even living longer. Some of these gains are the result of keeping your mind and body active while remaining socially engaged—bonus if it leads to additional income too.
When it comes to recognizing the trailblazing of others, consider a local event such as a walk, luncheon, or get an idea from the Older Americans Month website.