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Age My Way for Older Americans Month

April 23, 2022 at 10:00 p.m.

Congress passed the Older Americans Act in 1965 in response to concern by policymakers about a lack of community planning and social services for older Americans. The law also established the Administration on Aging to administer the newly created grant programs and to serve as the federal focal point on matters concerning older Americans.

The OAA is considered to be a major vehicle for the organization and delivery of social and nutrition services to our aging community and their caregivers. It authorizes a wide array of service programs through a national network of 56 state Agencies on Aging; 618 Area Agencies on Aging; nearly 20,000 service providers; 281 tribal organizations; and one Native Hawaiian organization representing 400 tribes. The OAA also includes community service employment for low-income older Americans; training, research, demonstration activities in the field of aging; and vulnerable elder rights protection activities.

Every Year in May, the Administration for Community Living will lead the nation's observance of Older Americans Month. In 2022, ACL will be focusing on aging in place and exploring the ways that older adults can plan to stay in their homes and live independently in their communities for as long as possible. The 2022 theme is "Age My Way," an opportunity for all of us to explore the many ways older adults can remain involved with their communities.

Older Americans Month recognizes the contributions of older adults across the nation. While raising families and building careers, older Americans also give back to their communities in a variety of ways. In their lifetime, times have changed and they continue to volunteer and serve their neighborhoods in their own ways. Whether they mentored children, volunteered at a soup kitchen or served their country, each one deserves recognition for their commitment.

Older Americans Month also serves to raise awareness concerning elder abuse and neglect. As we age, the risk of abuse and neglect increases, we must be sure resources are in place to protect our older population from these risks. Here are some ways to maintain involvement in community and social activities that can help to provide overall health and vitality:

Stay active and healthy

• Remaining active in a way that's fun for you helps to prevent diseases before they occur. People of all ages can live healthier and happier lives.

• Be sure to contact your local benefits counselor at the Ark-Tex Area Agency on Aging to find out how Medicare can ensure that you remain healthy by providing a variety of preventative health services.

• Go walking with a friend, try a group dance class, go for a hike, or anything else that appeals to you. You can start with just 10 minutes a day, and eventually try building toward 30 minutes or more of daily exercise. Every little bit helps.

• Contact Ark-Tex Area Agency on Aging or local community centers for offerings of free classes and community events coming up.

• Ask about the locations of senior centers in your area to visit and join in on activities such as bingo and free meals.

• Give back to the community.

• Volunteering has been proven to boost happiness, and is also a great way to bond with friends and meet new people in your community (another proven factor in achieving wellness). Find a few hours a month and pick an activity that appeals to you and will keep you coming back.

• Volunteer with our local ombudsmen program to advocate for our elderly patients in nursing facilities and assisted living.

• Mentor young people -- seniors have a unique perspective on the past that younger generations do not. Sharing their stories can be an excellent way for younger people to learn about history or teach fading skills, such as woodworking, sewing and cooking.

• Share information by volunteering at the public library or giving tours at a museum.

Older adults have a lifetime of experience and insight to offer, and their contributions of time and talent benefit families and communities across the nation. We should proudly honor our aging community not only in the month of May but every day.

If you would like to find out about activities and programs in our area to assist aging adults, contact Angela Glass at Ark-Tex Area Agency on Aging at 1-800-372-4464.

Print Headline: Age My Way for Older Americans Month

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