In 1963, Older Americans Month was established to annually recognize older Americans for their contributions to the nation. More than 50 years later, this tradition continues each May.
In those 50 years, a lot has changed. The older adult population of those 65 and over has grown — and will continue to grow. This year marks the 50th anniversary of Medicare, Medicaid, and the Older Americans Act. Older adults are living longer, thanks to advances in science and improvements in lifestyle choices.
But we also enter an era of new challenges. With longer lives, we face the potential of more chronic diseases and the associated burdens they can cause. That’s why the Alliance for Aging Research was founded. We advance research because we believe it will help people live longer, happier, more productive lives and reduce health care costs over the long term.
As we continue through this century, older adults will play an increasingly important and vital role in the fabric of our nation.
As President Obama noted in his official Older Americans Month proclamation:
The United States is entering a new era, and the face of our Nation is growing older and more diverse. For the next 15 years, thousands of Americans will reach retirement age every day, and by 2030, there will be more than twice as many older Americans as there were at the beginning of this century. This growing population is a tremendous national asset. By changing the way we think and talk about aging — by focusing on the opportunities of aging rather than the limitations — we can work to maximize the potential of this generation and ensure they continue to thrive as they age.
President Obama also made note of an important event going on this summer: the 2015 White House Conference on Aging. This conference will bring together older Americans, their families, caregivers, advocates, community leaders, and experts to discuss issues of importance to older adults. We at the Alliance are looking forward to this event and the good things that will come out of it.
We also want to give a heartfelt thank you to all older adults for their contributions to their families, their communities, and to our country.