When Older Americans Month was established in 1963, only 17 million living Americans had reached their 65th birthdays. 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, however. In April of 1963, President John F. Kennedy’s meeting with the National Council of Senior Citizens served as a prelude to designating May as “Senior Citizens Month.”
Thanks to President Jimmy Carter’s 1980 designation, what was once called Senior Citizens Month, is now called “Older Americans Month,” and has become a tradition.
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 JFK 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 year’s Older Americans Month theme—“Unleash the Power of Age!”—emphasizes the important role of older adults. This May, communities across the nation will recognize older Americans as productive, active, and influential members of society. Here in Forsyth County, events range from Kernersville Spring Folly activities the first weekend of May through the Senior Health & Fitness Day on May 29th. Be sure to check out our events calendar for more. Also check in with the county’s senior centers, Shepherd’s Center in Winston-Salem, Kernersville Senior Enrichment Center, and The Living Well in Rural Hall, where aging is celebrated every day.
Older adults of Forsyth County, we celebrate YOU….and thank you for “unleashing the power of age” in our county.