Back in 1963, when President Kennedy first designated May as Senior Citizens Month, 17 million Americans had reached their 65th birthdays. By the time Jimmy Carter officially renamed it Older Americans Month in 1980, that number had hit 25.5 million. And as President Obama delivers this year's proclamation, 40.23 million of our countrymen are 65 and up. That's a lot folks to expect a single month to honor, but if we all pitch in, I'm confident May is up to the task.
In any given community, the hospital is one of the go-to for places for older residents—and not just when they're acutely ill. The typical community hospital provides wellness and fitness activities, nutritional education and mental health counseling. The hospital hosts social groups and events. The hospital's staff helps seniors locate vital community resources they might need.
And it's not a one-way street. All those volunteers who help meet, greet, direct and comfort patients and their families at your hospital undoubtedly include a generous proportion of retirees.
Which is why I am summoning up the courage, going out on a limb and endorsing Older Americans Month—and urging you to consider letting friends and neighbors know about one particular activity that I think could be a hoot and a holler for all involved. That would be the "Connecting Generations Video Challenge," sponsored by HHS' Administration on Aging. The idea is for people from across the generational spectrum to work together to create a video "that pays homage to the many ways in which older adults bring inspiration and continuity to the fabric of their communities." The theme, AoA says, "also highlights the many ways technology is helping older Americans live longer, healthier and more engaged lives."
AoA invites all Americans to submit a video. The only caveats: it can be no longer than 90 seconds and at least one member of the video team must be older than 60 and one member must be younger than 60. But you better hustle: The deadline for submitting a video is May 9.