Older Americans Month
(From the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services)
Each year in May, we commemorate Older Americans Month (OAM) to encourage and recognize the countless contributions that older adults make to our communities. Their time, experience, and talents enrich the lives of those around them. The theme for this year is Aging Unbound, which offers an opportunity to explore diverse aging experiences and discuss how communities can combat stereotypes. This year, there is a focus on promoting flexible thinking about aging and how we all benefit when older adults remain engaged, independent, and included.
We are recognizing the 60th anniversary of Older Americans Month and we challenge people to change the narrative on aging. Here are some ways we can all participate in Aging Unbound.
Grandparents Raising Grandchildren
Here at K&FT, we support several grandparents who are raising and caring for their grandchildren and wanted to highlight the important role grandparents play in the lives of their grandchildren. While contending with their own issues, many grandparents are raising grandchildren because their children are facing their own difficulties. Despite the hurdles and challenges, the grandchildren appear by and large to do well, new research has found.
Over 2.6 million children in the United States are being raised by grandparents, other relatives, or close family friends. While it can be extremely rewarding for an older adult to take on the responsibility of raising a child, there are also many challenges that arise. There is a wide variety of reasons kinship families form. However, regardless of how they come together, many of them face similar difficulties such as navigating the welfare system, establishing legal guardianship, and moving past trauma.
A Proclamation on Older Americans Month, 2023
The following are excerpts from this year’s Proclamation on Older Americans Month by President Biden:
“On this 60th anniversary of Older Americans Month, we honor our Nation’s senior citizens, whose lifetimes of hard work, devotion to family, and commitment to community have laid the foundation for the country we are today. We have a rock-solid responsibility to ensure our Nation’s seniors can age with dignity and financial security.
When President John F. Kennedy issued the first proclamation recognizing older Americans, approximately a third of seniors lived in poverty, and close to half were without health insurance. Our Nation rallied together to confront this crisis, passing Medicare to deliver affordable, quality health care to our seniors; strengthening Social Security, the bedrock of American retirement; and ultimately raising so many seniors out of poverty. We extended lifespans and provided critical breathing room to Americans who had worked hard their whole lives. But there is still more work to do to ensure that no senior lies in bed at night wondering how they are going to pay for lifesaving drugs, put food on the table, or support their children and grandchildren.”
“Older Americans are the pillars of our community, and we owe it to them to value their wisdom, celebrate their contributions, and champion their well-being. To older Americans across this Nation, we will always support you.”
How are we going to care for the baby boomers?
As the baby boomer generation continues to age, the need for properly established care services becomes increasingly important. Baby boomers, born between 1946 and 1964, are the second-largest generation in United States history, with an estimated 76 million individuals. As they continue to grow older, it has become more urgent than ever to begin considering how we will provide care for this generation.
Many older adults are unable to afford care services due to high healthcare costs and inadequate retirement savings. Addressing these issues may require policy changes at the state and federal levels, such as expanding Medicare coverage and increasing funding for retirement savings programs.
Caring for the baby boomer generation is a daunting and inevitable challenge that requires a comprehensive and collaborative approach. By continuing to educate ourselves, we can ensure that baby boomers receive the care they both deserve and need to live healthy and comfortable lives.