The theme for this year’s Older Americans Month is “Age Strong!
While you wonder if there is a card available for this occasion, and if
there is, whether it is still considered sent on time as long as it arrives
any day during the month, let’s look at how many people can expect
to be honored with an Older Americans Month good wish.
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Administration
on Aging, when Older Americans Month started in 1963, there were over
17 million Americans age 65 or older. In 2009, that number was 39.6 million
and that number is projected to be 72.1 million by 2030! Not only are
more people celebrating Older Americans Month but they can look forward
to celebrating it longer because in 2000 there were 4.2 million people
age 85 or older but that number is expected to increase to 6.6 million by 2020!
So the “Live Long!” segment of this year’s theme seems
to be something more and more people can look forward to experiencing.
Whether they can also look forward to the “Age Strong!” segment
could depend in part on the rest of us. Do we take the time to help the
older Americans around us stay engaged in life? The same Administration
on Aging study that shows increasing longevity also shows that in 2010,
half of women age 75 or older lived alone. Not to say that we can’t
enjoy our own company but for those older Americans living alone, a friendly
visit or a nice lunch outing or even an invitation to book club could
make a significant difference in their desire to stay engaged in life
and therefore, their ability to “Age Strong!”.