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Cheri Burcham

We traditionally celebrate Older Americans Month each May.

When Older Americans Month was established in 1963, only 17 million living Americans had reached their 65th birthday. By 2017, around 47 million had reached that milestone.

Why not observe our older population with this year’s theme of “Connect, Create, Contribute?” This catchy slogan encourages older adults 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.

There is a great website found online at www.acl.gov/oam developed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Community Living that is dedicated to the celebration of Older Americans Month. There is also a phone number available, 202-401-4634, if unable to connect online. There are wonderful resources, ideas, activities and even marketing materials to use for this special month. This website includes fact sheets on utilizing this year’s theme with descriptions and contact information of local resources including:

Connect - State Health Insurance Assistance Programs, Generations United, National Center on Elder Abuse, Pension Rights Center and U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

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Create – National Center for Creative Aging, Go4Life, Lifelong Learning Institute Directory, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and The National Institute on Aging.

Contribute – AARP, Volunteer.gov, Senior Corps, Feeding America, and Create the Good.

There are some great ideas listed on these fact sheets to get older adults involved in their communities, find assistance and discover purposeful ways to increase their well-being.

In regards to contributing, Mahatma Ghandi said it well: “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”

For more information on this topic or other family life-related topics, contact Cheri Burcham at University of Illinois Extension at 217-543-3755 or at cburcham@illinois.edu For more information on University of Illinois Unit 19 programming and to read more helpful articles, visit our website at http://web.extension.illinois.edu/ccdms/index.html or call us at 217-345-7034. Also visit the Family Files Blog at http://web.extension.illinois.edu/hkmw/eb380/

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