Following a tradition dating from 1963, President Barack Obama has declared the month of May as Older Americans Month.
This is an observance declared by every President since President John F. Kennedy, dedicated to recognizing and honoring the achievements of older Americans and the contributions they make to our families, communities and society.
“With the aging of the baby boomer generation – the largest in America’s history – our senior population is expected to number 72.1 million by 2030. This increase will present all of us with tremendous opportunities, as well as, new challenges,” Secretary of Health & Human Services Kathleen Sebelius said in a Statement issued on May 1 about the observance.
“This year’s celebrations will recognize the value that older adults continue to bring to our communities through spirited participation in social and faith groups, service organizations, and other activities,” the Administration of Aging (AoA) states in an article posted on the AoA website about Older Americans Month.
This Year’s Theme of Older Americans Month is “Never Too Old To Play!”
Each year the Administration on Aging (AoA), part of the Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) designates a theme for Older Americans Month. This year the theme selected is “Never Too Old to Play!”, as illustrated by the official logo for the event pictured at right.
“This year’s theme “Never Too Old to Play” encourages older Americans to stay active in their own lives and in their communities,” HHS Secretary Sebelius said. “Older Americans are living longer and are more active than ever before,” the Secretary said.
“As large numbers of baby-boomers reach retirement age, many communities have increased their efforts to provide meaningful opportunities for older adults—many of whom remain physically and socially active through their 80s and beyond. Current trends show that people over age 60 account for an ever-growing percentage of participants in community service positions, faith-based organizations, online social networking as well as arts and recreational groups,” AoA states in the article posted on its website.
“Lifelong participation in social, creative, and physical activities has proven health benefits, including retaining mobility, muscle mass, and cognitive abilities. But older adults are not the only ones who benefit from their engagement in community life. Studies show their interactions with family, friends, and neighbors across generations enrich the lives of everyone involved. Young people who have significant relationships with a grandparent or elder report that these relationships helped shape their values, goals, and life choices and gave them a sense of identity and roots,” the AoA article states.
Emphasis on Exercise and Activities for Healthy Aging
In an announcement of Older Americans Month, HHS said “We encourage older Americans to stay active and be involved in their communities, and to take care of their own health.”
The link provided goes to the Go4Life website of the National Institute on Aging, part of the National Institutes of Health. It provides multiple resources and information on healthy exercise and activities for seniors.
Among the resources offered is a free pamphlet, Workout To Go, which illustrates and explains a sample workout routine for seniors, provided by the National Institute on Aging. The routine includes instructions for warm up, sample Strength Exercises, sample Balance Exercises, and sample Flexibility Exercises, all of which can be done in your own home.
Other resources include a 124 page book, Exercise & Physical Activity: Your Everyday Guide from the National Institute on Aging, which can be downloaded free as a PDF Document. (Note: Due to the size of the PDF Document, downloading may take some time.)
For more information on the Go4Life website of the National Institute on Aging, see How To Exercise Your Way to Good Health.
Resources and Support for Healthy Aging Provided by the Affordable Care Act
President Obama in his Proclamation of Older Americans Month, and HHS Secretary Sebelius in her Statement about the observance, both focused on the resources and support for seniors and healthy aging provided by President Obama’s Health Care Law, the Affordable Care Act.
In his Proclamation of Older Americans Month 2012, the President said, in part:
“As we honor the achievements and ongoing contributions of older Americans, my Administration is working with States, territories, and tribes to provide them with support to stay healthy, independent, and engaged. We remain deeply committed to strengthening Medicare, protecting Social Security, enhancing Older Americans Act programs, and implementing the historic Affordable Care Act, which provided more than 32 million seniors with at least one free preventive service or wellness visit last year and helped over 5 million save more than $3.2 billion on prescription drug costs in 2010 and 2011. The Department of Health and Human Services recently awarded more than $1.3 billion in grants to ensure the health and independence of America’s older adults, including $20 million focused on fitness, chronic disease self-management, and medication management. And the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is safeguarding older Americans from unscrupulous financial schemes that threaten their fiscal security.
Our seniors have devoted their entire lives to building the future their children and grandchildren deserve. During Older Americans Month, we celebrate their successes and recommit to supporting them as they shape America’s next great generation.”
In her Statement on Older Americans Month 2012, Secretary Sebelius said in part:
“Keeping our nation’s older citizens and their families healthy is a top priority of the Obama administration. At the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), we are working to expand access to affordable, high-quality health care. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, more than 5 million people with Medicare saved an average of $635 on the cost of their prescription drugs in 2010 and 2011. Individuals with Medicare prescription drug coverage who had to pay for drugs in the “donut hole” coverage gap received a one-time, tax free $250 rebate from Medicare for prescriptions and a 50 percent discount on many brand-name medications. The donut hole will be closed by 2020 as a result of the health care law.
We know that preventing disease before it starts helps people live longer, healthier lives. The new health care law is giving older Americans greater control over their own health by providing many free preventive services in Medicare such as flu shots, mammograms, and an annual wellness visit so seniors can spend more time with their doctors. In 2011, more than 32.5 million seniors took advantage of one or more preventive services covered without cost-sharing.
Through the Affordable Care Act and other efforts underway at HHS, we are working hard to ensure that older Americans of today and tomorrow are able to age healthy in their homes and communities.”
The health care law provides free preventive services to people with Medicare, including the Annual Wellness Visit, HHS highlighted in the announcement it circulated about Older Americans Month.
For more information about the Affordable Care Act and seniors visit http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/uploads/careact.pdf.
To see videos about seniors and the Affordable Care Act visit http://www.healthcare.gov/videos/2010/06/seniors.html.
Observing Older Americans Month 2012
HelpingYouCare™ provides information, resources and support for older Americans and their family caregivers year-round. Older Americans Month provides an opportunity to show special appreciation for our own senior loved ones and all senior citizens in our communities. We have so many reasons to honor them!
HelpingYouCare™ is joining in the national celebration of Older Americans Month 2012 to promote and encourage intergenerational engagement and recreation.
For more information on events planned for Older Americans Month 2012 and ways to join in honoring and supporting older Americans, see the Older Americans Month website, provided by the Administration on Aging (AoA).
Or, contact your local Area Agency on Aging by visiting www.eldercare.gov, or calling 1-800-677-1116 to find ongoing opportunities to celebrate and support older Americans.
See related HelpingYouCare™ reports on:
For more information on healthy activities and lifestyle factors that promote wellness and healthy aging, see the HelpingYouCare™ resource pages on Wellness/ Healthy Living for Seniors & Caregivers, including:
- Diet & Nutrition: Physical Wellness;
- Exercise: Physical Wellness;
- Sleep, Hygiene, Quit Smoking & Other Healthy Practices: Physical Wellness;
- Activities to Preserve Mental Acuity: Intellectual Wellness;
- Social Interaction & A Sense of Connection With Others: Social Wellness;
- Other Areas of Wellness: Emotional, Ethical/ Spiritual & Vocational Wellness; and
- Examples of Healthy Aging: Stories of Inspiring Seniors.
- News on Health Care Reform;
- Editorials: What Needs Improvement, With Your Comments;
- Advocacy: Proposals for Reform, With Your Comments;
- Legislation: Pending & Recently Adopted; and
- International Health Care Compare: Information on Health Care & Long-Term Care Solutions in Other Countries.
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