What it means to “age” has changed dramatically (and for the better!) in the past few years and decades. More than ever before, older adults are working longer, trying new things, being more social and volunteering more in their communities.
Yes, seniors are 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.
The members of South East Senior Center in Cabot (Winfield Township) are a strong example of seniors being active and living well. Every Tuesday and Thursday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., they gather at the center to partake in a variety of activities, including line dancing, chair volleyball and other low-impact exercise classes, bingo playing, and much more. Lunch is served at 11:30 a.m. each day. (BART transportation is available.) This month, the center is hosting an all-county event from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Friday, May 19, at the Tanglewood Building on Hanson Avenue in Butler in honor of Older Americans Month. The event is open to anyone ages 60 and older. Lunch will be served and raffles/door prizes will be available. Drummer Jim Donovan will perform live. Cost is $5 per person.
Local seniors and those across the nation are encouraged to amplify their voices and share what “getting older” really looks like in the year 2017 during May, Older Americans Month (OAM). This year’s OAM theme—“Age Out Loud”—is intended to give aging a new voice, one that reflects what today’s older adults have to say about aging.
OAM events at Butler County senior centers
Throughout May, Butler County senior centers will host special picnic lunches with traditional fare—hot dogs, hamburgers, macaroni/potato salad, watermelon, chips and dessert. The Butler County Area Agency on Aging’s administrator Beth Herold will make an appearance to speak about Older Americans Month at each of the following centers:
- Tuesday, May 30: Slippery Rock and Chicora
- Wednesday, May 31: Evans City and Mars
- Thursday, June 1: Butler and South East
- Friday, June 2: Cranberry
- Monday, June 5: Mt. Chestnut
A brief history of OAM
Historically, 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. When Older Americans Month was established in 1963, only 17 million living Americans had reached their 65th birthdays. About a third of older Americans lived in poverty and there were few programs to meet their needs. Interest in older Americans and their concerns was growing, however.
In April of 1963, President John F. Kennedy’s meeting with the National Council of Senior Citizens served as a prelude to designating May as “Senior Citizens Month.” Thanks to President Jimmy Carter’s 1980 designation, what was once called Senior Citizens Month, is now called “Older Americans Month,” and has become a tradition. Every President since JFK 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.
Now, under the Administration on Aging, which is part of the Administration for Community Living, Older Americans Month is celebrated across the country through ceremonies, events, fairs and other such activities.
To learn more, contact your local senior center.
By Gina Mazza
For Butler County Senior News