• When Older Americans Month was established in 1963, only 17 million living Americans had reached their 65th birthdays. About a third of older Americans lived in poverty and there were few programs to meet their needs. Interest in older Americans and their concerns was growing, however. In April of 1963, President John F. Kennedy’s meeting with the National Council of Senior Citizens served as a prelude to designating May as “Senior Citizens Month.”
  • Thanks to President Jimmy Carter’s 1980 designation, what was once called Senior Citizens Month, is now called “Older Americans Month,” and has become a tradition.
  • Historically, Older Americans Month has been a time to acknowledge the contributions of past and current older persons to our country, in particular those who defended our country. Every President since JFK has issued a formal proclamation during or before the month of May asking that the entire nation pays tribute in some way to older persons in their communities. Older Americans Month is celebrated across the country through ceremonies, events, fairs and other such activities.
  • The mission of the New Hampshire Conference on Aging is to share information, challenges, and opportunities, which enhance the experience of aging. The Conference provides elders and caregivers with information on healthy aging, long-term care options, supportive services and resources, volunteer opportunities and other key issues. The conference will also celebrate the many contributions that New Hampshire seniors have made to the state.
  • In NH we celebrate by providing a venue for NH’s older citizens to get connected with available options, supportive services and provide resources along with volunteer opportunities.
  • In NH we also celebrate and recognize older volunteers and the people they serve. The Joseph D. Vaughan Award started in 1962. The award recognizes individuals or couples over the age of 60 who demonstrate outstanding leadership or meritorious achievement as volunteers on behalf of NH’s older citizens. This year’s ceremony will take place in May in the Executive Council Chamber.
  • The annual commemoration of Older Americans Month is the Administration on Aging and NH’s opportunity to recognize the contributions of older citizens and join them in providing services and support that empower the elderly. Americans of all ages and backgrounds can volunteer with programs that improve health literacy, increase access to quality health services, offer food and nutrition services, provide financial and housing counseling, sponsor social activities and community engagement, and more. Contact the Bureau of Elderly and Adult Services at http://www.dhhs.state.nh.us/DHHS/BEAS/default.htm or call toll free 1-800-351-1888 to find out what you can do to strengthen services for older Americans, this month and all year round.