May 30, 2015
May marks Older Americans Month, a national health commemoration that’s all about promoting health and building strong communities for and among older adults.
What Makes Older Americans Month So Important?
There are more than 40 million people 65-years-old or older living in the United States today. That’s more than 13% of our nation’s population, and that number will continue to rise as more and more of us grow older.
Why is Supporting Older Adult Health So Critical?
Older adults have special health and wellness needs that require unique attention. Many older people, for example, live with several medical conditions (like heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, Alzheimer’s disease, or high blood pressure). These considerations can make health and care more complex for older adults, which is why geriatrics (the field of medicine that addresses how to evaluate and manage health for older people) has become so important.
What Other Types of Support Are Available to Older Adults?
Geriatrics healthcare professionals and their patients benefit from a range of other programs and policies that support healthy living. In fact, the theme of this year’s Older Americans Month–Get into the Act!–highlights an example of that support: the Older Americans Act (OAA).
President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the OAA into law in 1965. Since that time, the Act has provided services and funding nationwide that help older adults live with dignity in the communities of their choice for as long as possible. OAA services include home-delivered meals, caregiver support, community-based assistance, preventive health services, elder abuse prevention, and much more.
Nancy E. Lundebjerg, the CEO of the American Geriatrics Society, stopped by the Health in Aging Foundation blog to share more information about the OAA and the types of services it provides for us all.
What Can I Do to “Get into the Act”?
There are lots of ways that you can help commorate Older Americans Month by raising awareness for the importance of older adult health and wellness:
HealthinAging.org is a special public resource from the Health in Aging Foundation, a national non-profit organization established in 1999 by the American Geriatrics Society. The Foundation’s mission is to provide older adults, their caregivers, family, and friends with reliable, up-to-date information on health and aging. Overseen by a team of experts on caring for older adults, HealthinAging.org content is based on resources that the American Geriatrics Society has developed for its professional members.