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Growing Old, Serious Business

by Pam Hayle May 01, 2016

oamlogocolor_364May is Older Americans Month---a month set aside to celebrate the contributions of older adults to our society. When President Kennedy first celebrated older Americans by designating May 1963 as Senior Citizens Month, Kennedy encouraged all Americans to pay tribute to older people across the country. In 1980, President Jimmy Carter changed the name to Older Americans Month which we continue to celebrate today.

I was recently skimming through my community newspaper and was drawn to the title "Older Americans Month: Blaze a Trail." The title made me smile and feel proud to be an older adult, that smile soon turned to disappointment when the major kick-off event was "Celebrate your month at the Birthday Bash and Bingo lunch" Followed by weekly events like making a May basket, ice cream social, and free Arthritis and Nutrition Tips. I had to read it several times to be sure I was not missing something more important, meaningful, serious such as a community project, volunteer opportunities, a lecture on current events, or anything designed to stimulate the minds and spirits of older adults.

I have continued to ponder this over the last couple of weeks. Are these events what older adults in my community want or is it just an easy way to have activities versus engaging older adults in meaningful ways. I challenge us all to do one thing this month that is "serious" that shows the vital role older adults have in their communities. Celebrate Older Americans Month in a serious way that makes a difference, and of course there is nothing wrong with having a little ice cream along the way.


Bev Bachel - May 03, 2016
Pam, thanks for your thought-provoking words of wisdom and for making me dig a little deeper in terms of how to offer up meaningful activities...for adults of all ages.

Mary Sadek - May 02, 2016
On June 13 the Retired Senior Volunteer Pogram will train ambassadors as exercise leaders in their "Bone Builder" curriculum designed to combat osteoporosis in older adults. Join me to attend for a couple hours of information and exercise. Contact Monique at RSVP 612-390-5218 Potential exercise substitutes in metro classes are welcome to attend this orientation taught by a retired Physical Therapist.

Mary Jane - May 02, 2016
I'm 71 this week, still work part-time, providing financial counseling. I am President of my Condo Board and am on another Board. Reading about your sadness of what is available for Seniors, reminds me, that even my Mom, 15 years ago, was saddened by the activities available in her assisted living facility (bingo, ice cream socials...) she never wanted to play bingo and neither would I! So -- not much progress has been made, it appears. Active Lifelong Learning communities are where I have spent some time over the last few years....growing, learning, socializing and thriving. We need to create more awareness of the importance of mental stimulation, socialization, and fun, as we age.

- May 02, 2016
All sounds wonderful but if still in your home how do you get there? None are short drives from St.Anthony Village next to Mpls.

Victoria - May 02, 2016
I'm 73, I facilitate a Y book club, wrote a grant for a community rain garden, share my crafts and materials with friends, like to send real greeting cards...on and on. I'm always looking for ways to contribute to community and so are my friends. All you have to do is look and see seniors active in the community, they like ice cream socials, bingo, lunch too but most of us are involved in all aspects of our communities.


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