Aging parents, spouses, and seniors take notice: May is the month for you! Yes, as established by the Administration on Aging (AOA) and the Administration on Community Living, May is officially Older Americans Month!
Older Americans Month started in 1963 as Senior Citizens Month, before receiving its current name in 1980. The objective of Older American Month is, according to AOA, “to appreciate and celebrate the vitality and aspirations of older adults and their contributions to our communities.” The theme for Older Americans Month in 2013 is “Unleash the Power of Age.” Its aim is to highlight the contributions of older Americans across the country.
If you are caring for aging parents or other seniors, this is an excellent opportunity to find ways to celebrate all that they have accomplished in their lives. Here are a few suggestions from the AOA on how you can mark this special month:
- Dance! Dancing is both interactive and physically engaging. Think about ways that you can encourage dancing, if it is appropriate to your loved one’s abilities. You might select some songs that your loved one enjoys, and encourage him or her to join you in a dance or two. The goal is simply to have fun.
- Add a little drama. Perhaps you or a family member could put together a short skit that focuses on an important moment from your aging parents’ lives, and present it as a special treat in their honor.
- Draw it out. Make a group activity out of creating an art project, such as a mural. The mural might show special events in your loved one’s life.
There are many other ways that you can make May a special month for the seniors in your life. Make their favorite dinner or a special dessert. Bring out a photo album or old home videos. Talk about things they have done that have made you feel special or that benefited others in the family or the community.
The list is endless, but remember: don’t confine your appreciation of the older Americans in your life to the month of May. Any time is an appropriate time to celebrate the lives of those close to you.