May celebrates two very important initiatives that have positively impacted older adults and persons with disabilities.
In 1998, Wisconsin became the first state to develop Aging & Disability Resource Centers and provided the model for a nationwide initiative that began in 2003. Kenosha County was fortunate to be one of the 7 original pilot programs and has been going strong ever since.
Older Americans Month was established in 1963. At that time only 17 million living Americans had reached their 65th birthday. Approximately a third of older Americans were living in poverty and with few programs to meet their needs. In 1963 a meeting was held between President John F. Kennedy and members of the National Council of Senior Citizens which led to designating May as “Senior Citizens Month,” the prelude to “Older Americans Month.”
Each May, the Administration for Community Living leads the celebration of Older Americans Month. This year’s theme is Communities of Strength, recognizing the important role older adults play in fostering the connection and engagement that build strong, resilient communities.
Strength is built and shown not only by bold acts, but also small ones of day-to-day life—a conversation shared with a friend, working in the garden, trying a new recipe, or taking time for a cup of tea on a busy day. And when we share these activities with others—even virtually or by telling about the experience later—we help them build resilience too.
This year, Kenosha County Aging & Disability Resource Center will celebrate by encouraging community members to share their experiences. Together, we can find strength—and create a stronger future.