May is the month that my parents married, the month of my mother’s birthday, and of course, Mother’s day. As a result, it means a lot to me that May is also Older Americans Month. I have been thinking a lot about my parents this month and their contributions to my growth as an individual, and to my family. It is a time to celebrate all of those older people who are close to us, and the many others who leave their mark each day.
We must be careful not to overlook our older Americans – many people mistakenly believe that with age our elders are able to access entitlements and are taken care of. However, in reality there is little awareness of the true plight of many older Americans who in spite of Social Security and Medicare, have less and less financial resources with each passing year. For this reason, many elders are quite frugal and will forgo necessary medicine and care because of its cost but as my wise grandmother has said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Older Americans Month is an opportunity to educate the general public about the issues facing many seniors and their contributions.
Additionally, our elders offer us a fortune of wisdom. The work force is full of people who are over the ages of 70, 80, 90 and even some who have reached 100 years old and continue working in their professions. These workforce seniors volunteer, help raise grand and great-grandchildren and are vital members of our communities. We can gain much insight about life from the experiences of our elders and Older Americans Month presents an opportunity for our elders to share their experiences! We must hear their stories– their legacy is too important to be left behind so speak up here!
We will listen.
By Diane Menio Executive Director at CARIE (Center for Advocacy for the Rights and Interests of the Elderly). Visit https://www.carie.or/ or call CARIE at 1-800-356-3606.