COLUMBUS - Each year, Ohio and the nation celebrate May as Older Americans Month to show appreciation for our elders who continue to grow, thrive and contribute to their communities. The theme for Older Americans Month 2012, "never too old to..." - spotlights the many varied ways that older adults share their experience, wisdom and understanding with other generations. The centerpiece of the month, Senior Citizens Day, is May 15 this year.
"When our elders continue to participate in social groups, service organizations, the workplace and other activities, they live healthy, meaningful lives full of reward and satisfaction," said Bonnie Kantor-Burman, director of the department. "When communities integrate the needs and interests of elders into their planning and provide real opportunities, Ohio reaps the rewards."
Lifelong participation in social, creative and physical activities has proven health benefits, including retaining mobility, muscle mass and cognitive abilities. But older adults are not the only ones who benefit from their engagement in community life. Studies show their interactions with family, friends and neighbors across generations enrich the lives of everyone involved. Young people who have significant relationships with a grandparent or elder report that these relationships helped shape their values, goals and life choices and gave them a sense of identity and roots.
To help organizations and communities celebrate Older Americans Month, the Ohio Department of Aging has a promotional toolkit on its website that includes an event planning guide, activity ideas, publicity materials, posters and other useful resources. Organizations hosting activities are invited to list their events on the website as well. Local celebrations traditionally include awards dinners, picnics, dances, health fairs, intergenerational activities and more.
About ODA - The Ohio Department of Aging works to ensure that our elders are respected as vital members of society who continue to grow, thrive and contribute. We work with state agencies and community partners, including area agencies on aging, to help integrate aging needs into local plans and ensure that aging Ohioans have access to a wide array of high-quality services and supports that are person-centered in policy and practice. Our programs include the PASSPORT Medicaid waiver, caregiver support, the long-term care ombudsman program, the Golden Buckeye Card and more. Visit www.aging.ohio.gov.
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