Older Americans Month Speech Resources: Fact Sheet

May is Older Americans Month—a time to celebrate and pay tribute to older people across the country. Since 1992, the Administration on Aging has selected an annual theme for Older Americans Month. The May 2019 theme is Connect, Create, Contribute. The Administration for Community Living website contains a list of past themes.

This guide is designed to assist congressional offices with work-related Older Americans Month celebrations. It contains a brief history with resources for additional historical, legislative and budget information, CRS reports, examples of speeches and recognitions from the legislative branch, presidential proclamations, and statistics and projections from authoritative government sources. The sections “Resources for Older Americans,” “Educational Opportunities for Seniors,” and “Volunteer Opportunities for Seniors” contain selected resources that may be of interest to constituents.

Older Americans Month Speech Resources: Fact Sheet

Updated September 5, 2019 (R43978)

Introduction

May is Older Americans Month—a time to celebrate and pay tribute to older people across the country. Since 1992, the Administration on Aging (AOA) has selected an annual theme for Older Americans Month (OAM). The May 2019 theme is Connect, Create, Contribute, which encourages older Americans to

  • connect with friends, family, and services that support participation;
  • create by engaging in activities that promote learning, health, and personal enrichment; and
  • contribute time, talent, and life experience to benefit others.

The Administration for Community Living (ACL) website also states that "Communities that encourage the contributions of older adults are stronger! By engaging and supporting all community members, we recognize that older adults play a key role in the vitality of our neighborhoods, networks, and lives."

This CRS guide is designed to assist congressional offices with work related to Older Americans Month celebrations. It contains a brief history with resources for additional historical, legislative, and budget information; CRS reports; examples of speeches and recognitions from the legislative branch; presidential proclamations; and statistics and projections from authoritative government sources. The sections "Resources for Older Americans," "Educational Opportunities for Seniors," and "Volunteer Opportunities for Seniors" contain selected resources that may be of interest to constituents.

History

President John F. Kennedy designated May 1963 as Senior Citizens Month to pay tribute to citizens aged 65 and older. President Jimmy Carter changed the name to Older Americans Month in 1980. The ACL website contains historical resources for OAM.

Legislation and Budget

The Older Americans Act (OAA) was signed into law by President Lyndon Johnson on July 14, 1965, and supports a range of social services and programs for individuals aged 60 years or older.

Congress has reauthorized and amended the OAA numerous times since it was first enacted. Most recently, President Barack Obama signed P.L. 114-144, the Older Americans Act Reauthorization Act of 2016, on April 19, 2016. The law reauthorized the OAA through FY2019.

The Older Americans Act (P.L. 89-73)

The Older Americans Act Reauthorization Act of 2016 (P.L. 114-144)

Current Budget Information (Administration for Community Living)

CRS Reports

The Congressional Research Service has prepared several reports that explain or address issues of concern to older Americans. Some of these include the following.

The Older Americans Act and Related Programs

CRS Report R43414, Older Americans Act: Overview and Funding, by Kirsten J. Colello and Angela Napili

CRS Report R44485, Older Americans Act: 2016 Reauthorization, by Kirsten J. Colello

CRS Report RS22549, Older Americans Act: Funding Formulas, by Kirsten J. Colello

CRS In Focus IF10633, Older Americans Act: Nutrition Services Program, by Kirsten J. Colello

CRS Report R45626, Older Americans Act: Senior Community Service Employment Program, by Benjamin Collins

Other Programs and Issues Focused on Older Americans

CRS Report R40425, Medicare Primer, coordinated by Patricia A. Davis

CRS Report R42035, Social Security Primer, by Barry F. Huston

CRS Report R43707, The Elder Justice Act: Background and Issues for Congress, by Kirsten J. Colello

CRS In Focus IF10322, Medicaid Primer, by Alison Mitchell

Sample Congressional Speeches and Recognitions

Members of Congress often make floor statements, issue press releases, or enter Extensions of Remarks into the Congressional Record to recognize federal holidays and observances. The following are some recent examples that may be of assistance in preparing such statements.

Senator Susan M. Collins, "Senate Resolution 241 – Designating May 2019 as 'Older Americans Month'," Senate, Congressional Record, vol. 165 (June 10, 2019), pp. S3292-S3293.

Senator Susan M. Collins, "Senate Resolution 517 – Designating May 2018 as 'Older Americans Month'," Senate, Congressional Record, vol. 164 (May 21, 2018), pp. S2796-S2797.

Representative Joyce Beatty, "Recognizing the 52nd Anniversary of the Older Americans Act," Extensions of Remarks, Congressional Record, vol. 163 (July 14, 2017), p. E990.

Senator Bernard Sanders, "Anniversary and Reauthorization of the Older Americans Act," Senate, Congressional Record, vol. 162 (July 14, 2016), pp. S5143-S5144.

Senator Lamar Alexander, "Older Americans Act Reauthorization Act of 2016," Senate, Congressional Record, vol. 162 (April 19, 2016), pp. S2194-S2195.

Presidential Proclamations

One of the many uses of a presidential proclamation is to ceremoniously honor a group or call attention to certain issues or events. Details about OAM proclamations back to 1993 are available on the Government Publishing Office's govinfo.gov website.

Proclamation 9871—Older Americans Month, 2019

Proclamation 9736—Older Americans Month, 2018

Proclamation 9599—Older Americans Month, 2017

Proclamation 9436—Older Americans Month, 2016

Proclamation 9268Older Americans Month, 2015

Proclamation 9114—Older Americans Month, 2014

Statistics

Numerous federal agencies maintain statistics on the elderly. Some useful data include

U.S. Census Bureau, Stats for Stories: Older Americans Month: May 2019.

Administration on Community Living, 2018 Profile of Older Americans. (Previous editions of Profile of Older Americans are available on the Administration on Community Living website.)

Federal Interagency Forum on Aging Related Statistics, Older Americans 2016: Key Indicators of Well Being.

Resources for Older Americans

A vast number of resources exist to directly help and inform older Americans and their caregivers, including the following:

Eldercare Locator

National Association of Area Agencies on Aging

National Center on Elder Abuse

National Council on Aging, Benefits CheckUp

National Long-Term Care Ombudsman Resource Center

Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, HealthyPeople.gov

State Health Insurance Assistance Programs (SHIPs)

In addition to the resources above as well as below, many additional community-based programs can be found using local resources, such as a public library or a recreation department.

Educational Opportunities for Seniors

Numerous programs are available to seniors to provide educational and fun experiences. The following are three broader well-established resources:

Making Education Accessible to Seniors

Road Scholar (formerly Elderhostel)

AARP, Life-Long Learning.

Volunteer Opportunities for Seniors

Active seniors may enjoy sharing their knowledge and skills by volunteering to help others. The following selections provides diverse volunteer opportunities, including some for living and volunteering abroad:

The Corporation for National and Community Service, Senior Corps

Go EcoSenior Volunteering

Additional community-based programs can be found using local resources, such as a public library or a recreation department.

Author Contact Information

Gary Sidor, Senior Technical Information Specialist ([email address scrubbed], [phone number scrubbed])