Older Americans Month Kick Off event, May 6 in Anchorage

Each May, the Anchorage Senior Citizens Advisory Commission celebrates Older Americans Month, recognizing older Americans and their contributions to the nation. This year, in honor of the 50th anniversary of the Older Americans Act (OAA), we are focusing on how older adults are taking charge of their health, getting engaged in their communities, and making a positive impact in the lives of others. The theme for Older Americans Month 2015 is “Get into the Act.”

When Older Americans Month was established in 1963, there were only 17 million Americans that had reached their 65th birthday. About a third of older Americans lived in poverty and there were few programs to meet their needs. In the last 50 years, the interest and concerns of older Americans has been growing.

In April 1963, a meeting was held between President John F. Kennedy and members of the National Council of Senior Citizens. This led to designating May as “Senior Citizens Month,” the prelude to “Older Americans Month. 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 Kennedy 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.

In Anchorage the Senior Citizens Advisory Commission, in partnership with the Alaska Commission on Aging, will present the Older Americans Month Kick Off Event on Wednesday, May 6. The kickoff event will be held at the Anchorage Senior Activity Center from 10 a.m. to noon. Members of the senior community are invited to attend this free event to hear speakers from around the state, enjoy the entertainment and get a bite of light refreshments. An added bonus is the presentation of the Ron Hammett Award.

Older Americans Month provides an opportunity to raise awareness of the importance of community engagement as a tool for enhancing the wellbeing of older adults. Now is the time to Get into the Act to make the benefits of community living a reality for older Americans.

For more information, call 343-7770.

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