Every May, the Administration for Community Living (ACL) leads the nation’s observance of Older Americans Month. It began in 1963 when President John F. Kennedy and members of the National Council of Senior Citizens met to address the growing concerns of America’s 17 million individuals ages 65 and older. At the time, one-third of all seniors lived in poverty with few social programs available to help support them.
To raise awareness of the problems facing seniors and to honor them, then-President Kennedy and the Council proclaimed May as Senior Citizens Month. Two years later, in 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson passed the Older Americans Act of 1965 and formally declared May as Older Americans Month.
The theme for this year is “Age My Way,” recognizing how older adults are taking charge of their health, getting engaged in their communities, and making a positive impact in the lives of others in both large and small ways.
But “Aging My Way” doesn’t just happen. Well, it can but the result isn’t always what you would hope. To grow older the way you want, the Administration on Community Living suggests four common areas to consider.
Planning: You never know what future challenges and also opportunities you will find which makes it difficult to plan. But it is important to start thinking about what you will need and want. For example, do you plan to live in your own home for as long as possible? Are there health considerations where you may need in-home assistance at some time? Do you want to travel to exotic places – or maybe non-exotic places?
Access: If you plan to stay in your home, what home improvements and modifications can you make to help you better age in place? AARP has published online a HomeFit Guide that examines ways to make a home aging-friendly by modifying exits, kitchens, living rooms, stairs, bedrooms, and bathrooms thus making your home a better “fit”.
Engagement: How are you going to stay involved and contribute to your community? Working, volunteering, attending church? The contributions of older adults are essential to the health of any community.
Connection: How are you going to stay connected to combat the number one threat to your health and wellbeing: social isolation. The community centers for older adults in the Gorge are a great resource. They offer activities and can refer you to resources you may need.
By planning, making your home age-friendly, staying involved in your community, and staying socially connected, you can “Age Your Way” and enjoy the many years ahead.
This week’s Brain Tease may be too easy but try it on for size. 1) In the dead of winter, you are in a house with only one match. There is a gas lamp, a fireplace, and a wood stove. Which would you light first?
The name of the television series where Martin Milner and George Maharis traveled the back roads of America in their 1961 Corvette convertible was Route 66. I received correct answers from Jeannie Pesicka, Rhonda Spies, Lana Tepfer, Diana Weston, Jess Birge, Keith and Marlene Clymer, Patty Burnett, and DeAnn Orand this week’s winner of a quilt raffle ticket.
In the1950s the nationally televised news programs were in their infancy – only fifteen minutes long until 1963 when the evening news expanded to thirty minutes every weeknight. The competition was tight between Walter Cronkite on CBS and the two newscasters on NBC. For this week’s “Remember When “question, what were the last names of the two anchors who hosted the nightly news program on NBC from 1956 through 1970 and signed off each night with “Good night, Chet. Good night, David. And good night, for NBC News.” Email your answer to firstname.lastname@example.org, leave a message at 541-296-4788, or mail it with a recording of NBC’s coverage of the 1956 national political conventions.
Brain Tease answer: match
Well, it’s been another week, wondering why everything has to be so complicated! Until we meet again, even at our age it is good to heed the advice Christopher Robin gave Winnie-the-Pooh, “Promise me you’ll always remember: You’re braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.
“There are three kinds of men. The one that learns by reading. The few who learn by observation. The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence for themselves.” Will Rogers