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May Is Older Americans Month

Embracing senior couple

When Older Americans Month was established in 1963, only 17 million living Americans had reached their 65th birthday. 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. A meeting in April 1963 between President John F. Kennedy and members of the National Council of Senior Citizens led to designating May as “Senior Citizens Month,” the prelude to “Older Americans Month.”

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 Kennedy has issued a formal proclamation during or before the month of May asking that the entire nation pay 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.

Every May, the Administration for Community Living leads the nation’s observance of Older Americans Month (OAM). The 2023 theme is Aging Unbound, which offers an opportunity to explore diverse aging experiences and discuss how communities can combat stereotypes. Join us in promoting flexible thinking about aging – and how we all benefit when older adults remain engaged, independent, and included.Aging Unbound

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Don’t forget to follow #OlderAmericansMonth to see how other communities are planning to celebrate!

A Presidential Proclamation on Older Americans Month, 2023

On this 60th anniversary of Older Americans Month, we honor our Nation’s senior citizens, whose lifetimes of hard work, devotion to family, and commitment to community have laid the foundation for the country we are today.  We have a rock-solid responsibility to ensure our Nation’s seniors can age with dignity and financial security.

     When President John F. Kennedy issued the first proclamation recognizing older Americans, approximately a third of seniors lived in poverty, and close to half were without health insurance.  Our Nation rallied together to confront this crisis, passing Medicare to deliver affordable, quality health care to our seniors; strengthening Social Security, the bedrock of American retirement; and ultimately raising so many seniors out of poverty.  We extended lifespans and provided critical breathing room to Americans who had worked hard their whole lives.  But there is still more work to do to ensure that no senior lies in bed at night wondering how they are going to pay for lifesaving drugs, put food on the table, or support their children and grandchildren.

     That is one reason why I signed the Inflation Reduction Act.  For those on Medicare, this law caps the cost of insulin at $35 per month and will cap out-of-pocket prescription drug costs at $2,000 per year.  That means seniors could save upwards of tens of thousands of dollars on lifesaving drugs — including for cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, and more.  It also means Americans can get vaccinated for free against shingles, whooping cough, tetanus, and other diseases.  And by holding drug companies responsible when they increase prices faster than inflation and finally allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices, this law is helping bring down prescription drug costs for seniors across our country.  Affordable health care is about basic dignity, which is also why I issued an Executive Order calling on the Food and Drug Administration to make hearing aids available over the counter without a prescription.  Now, millions of adults with mild-to-moderate hearing loss can save as much as $3,000 per pair by buying hearing aids at a store or online without a prescription.

     At the same time, standing by our seniors means honoring our Nation’s fundamental promise that when it comes time to retire after working hard and contributing to our economy, Social Security and Medicare will be there for you.  I am committed to defending these vital programs — a lifeline for millions of seniors — which is why my newest Budget extends the life of the Medicare Trust Fund by at least 25 years.  And I will veto any effort to deny older Americans the benefits they have earned.

     We must keep building on this progress.  Older Americans should be able to live, work, and participate in their communities with dignity.  That’s why I recently signed an Executive Order on Increasing Access to High-Quality Care and Supporting Caregivers.  I call on the Congress to expand on the investments we have already made to help seniors receive care in their own homes and to support family caregivers — including aging caregivers — and the home care workers who perform selfless work every day.  I also call on the Congress to expand access to nutrition counseling for seniors and others with Medicare coverage, to increase funding for nutrition services for older adults, and to pilot coverage of medically tailored meals in Medicare — actions that are also part of my Administration’s National Strategy on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health.  We need to improve the quality and safety of nursing homes and protect vulnerable residents and the health care heroes who care for them.  And we must keep pushing to end cancer as we know it and win the fight against other deadly diseases that deny us time with those we love most.

     Older Americans are the pillars of our community, and we owe it to them to value their wisdom, celebrate their contributions, and champion their well-being.  To older Americans across this Nation, we will always support you. 

     NOW, THEREFORE, I, JOSEPH R. BIDEN JR., President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim May 2023 as Older Americans Month.  This month and beyond, I call upon all Americans to celebrate older adults for their contributions, support their independence, and recognize their unparalleled value to our Nation.

     IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-eighth day of April, in the year of our Lord two thousand twenty-three, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and forty-seventh.

                             JOSEPH R. BIDEN JR.

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The law office of elder law attorney Scott C. Painter, P.C., is located in Wyomissing (outside of Reading, PA, in Berks County,) and offers trusted legal services in the areas of elder law, including nursing home planning, trust and estate services, and veterans benefits. Scott C. Painter is a Certified Elder Law Attorney (CELA®), and he is also a member of the National Association of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA). 

If you have an issue or question, we encourage you to call us. With legal matters, time is of the essence. Call us for a consultation at 610-378-5140. The $300 consultation fee is waived if Attorney Painter is retained to perform services.