By Catherine Walsh, Intercity Home Care
May is Older Americans Month and the theme this year is “Age Out Loud”. It was 1963 when President Kennedy proclaimed May “Older Americans Month”. At that time only 17 million living Americans had reached their 65th birthday. As of 2016, there are 46 million Americans age sixty-five and older, making up 14.5 percent of the total population, and by 2030 that number will grow to 72.1 million or almost 20 percent of the total U.S. population. This is a significant number of people concerned with the care and wellbeing of older Americans.
In 1965, President Johnson signed the Older American Act into law. This Act was created to fund critical services that keep older adults healthy and independent—services like meals, job training, senior centers, caregiver support, transportation, health promotion, benefits enrollment, and more. In 2016, nearly five years after it expired, legislation to reauthorize the Act was passed by Congress with unanimous, bipartisan support. The bill was signed into law by President Obama as the 2016 OAA Act Reauthorization, which reauthorizes these programs from the year 2017 through 2019. It includes provisions that aim to protect vulnerable elders by strengthening the Long-Term Care Ombudsman program and elder abuse screening and prevention efforts. It also promotes the delivery of evidence-based programs, such as falls prevention and chronic disease self-management programs.
This year’s Age Out Loud theme provides an opportunity to shine a light on many important issues and trends. More than ever before, older Americans are working longer, trying new things, and engaging in their communities. They’re taking charge, striving for wellness, focusing on independence, and advocating for themselves and others. They expect to continue to live their lives to the fullest and they’re insisting on changes that make that possible. What it means to age has changed, and OAM 2017 is a perfect opportunity to recognize and celebrate what getting older looks like today.
Older adults are part of our families, our neighborhoods, and our workforce. They are leading the way, inspiring us all in so many ways. This month take time to notice the role they play in your life and acknowledge their contribution, as they continue to shape our world from their life experience and unique perspective.
For more information on the OAA reauthorization’s progress and the changes that will be enacted go to https://www.ncoa.org/public-policy-action/older-americans-act/ and review the Aging Network programs and strategies supported by the Act.
Intercity Home Care is family owned and has been providing quality care since 1967. Based in Malden with offices in Salem and Lowell we serve over 60 communities in Greater Boston, North Shore and Merrimack Valley. Call for a free assessment and learn more about the services of our Private Care Division and its Director of Care Management, Lisa O’Loughlin, RN, GCM at 781-333-6550.