Older Americans Month

Fair Housing MonthNever Too Old to Play is the theme for this year's Older Americans Month, previously known as “Senior Citizens Month,” established in 1963 by President John F. Kennedy. At that time, only 17 million Americans had lived past the age of 65, and a third of those subsisted in poverty with few programs to help meet their needs. In 1980, President Jimmy Carter's proclamation changed the name to Older Americans Month, marking May as a time to celebrate those aged 65 and older through ceremonies, events, and public recognition. Since its inception, every president has issued a formal proclamation during or before the month of May asking the entire nation to pay tribute in some way to older persons in their communities.

This celebration shines light on the essential role older adults play in sharing their experiences, understanding, and knowledge with other generations in a variety of meaningful ways, including in the workplace. As the average lifespan increases, so does the amount of years the average person works. By the end of 2002, workers in the labor force aged 55 to 64 increased to 62.9 percent, the highest level of the postwar era. Many employers have recognized the benefits of hiring older workers, and are utilizing the skills that they bring to the table—experience, knowledge, work ethic, and commitment. As the agency charged with protecting the civil rights of employees, the Missouri Commission on Human Rights actively investigates complaints of age discrimination (ages 40-69) in the workplace and holds employers accountable under the law.

This year’s festivities acknowledge the value older adults continue to bring to Missouri communities through their dedicated involvement in social and faith groups, service organizations, and many pastimes.

Local agencies on aging in Missouri include the following:

Useful information for older Missourians and their families may be found by searching the following: