Since 1963, May has been declared National Older Americans Month.

It is an occasion to honor and celebrate one of the most important groups in the entire country, as well as raise awareness about the many challenges senior adults face. 

National Older Americans Month is also an opportunity for adult children of aging seniors to get involved.

Studies show that seniors are happier and healthier when they are engaged in the lives of others. Unfortunately, these same studies report that when the reverse is true they can become more isolated and withdrawn as their age-related limitations increase. 

This year, the U.S. Administration on Aging, which is now part of the Administration for Community Living under the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, is promoting this very important month. The administration shares “the 2019 theme, Connect, Create, Contribute, encourages older adults and their communities to:

Connect with friends, family and services that support seniors.
Create by engaging in activities that promote learning, health and personal enrichment.
Contribute time, talent and life experience to benefit others.”

Seniors are never too old, or too young, to take part in activities that enrich their physical, mental, and emotional well-being. Adult children and other family members can help facilitate these opportunities in a variety of ways, including:

Arranging an event in May to recognize an elder family member and his or her accomplishments.
Providing occasions for senior relatives and friends to share life experiences with younger people.
Using technology, like video streaming, to connect seniors with out-of-town relatives.
Adult children may want to also teach their senior parents and grandparents about the benefits of communicating with friends and loved ones on social media.
Encouraging them to exercise and stay healthy.
Express themselves through art and personal enrichment activities. 

Need a little help getting started? National Older Americans Month helps to highlight groups like Go4Life, an initiative designed to incorporate physical activity into daily lives of seniors from the National Institute on Aging at NIH, and the National Endowment for the Arts, which provides support to regional, state and local art programs. For those looking to take an even more active role, National Older Americans Month provides opportunities for senior adults and their adult children to host fundraising events to benefit local senior programs or volunteer for organizations that further the mission of supporting Older Americans.

The key is to get involved with the Older Americans in your life! As always, do not wait to reach out to us as a resource for ideas or as a way to plan forward or if there is a need to find solutions in a crisis in Gainesville.