The Sampson County Department of Aging is ready to celebrate the contributions of seniors for Older Americans Month.
Held annually in May, this year’s theme is “Engage at Every Age.” Its purpose is to honor seniors throughout the nation and is celebrated with many events. Older Americans Month was established in 1963 following a meeting between President John F. Kennedy and members of the National Council of Senior Citizens. May was designated as “Senior Citizens Month,” a prelude to “Older Americans Month.”
Lesia Henderson, family caregiver support specialist for the department, stated that she’s a proud to be a senior.
“Older American Month is always a big thing,” Henderson said. “It’s a celebration that’s observed all over the United States.”
This year will mark the second year that officials hosted activities throughout the county. A different event will be held each week with door prizes and refreshments. Some of the topics include scam prevention, laughter therapy, and a movie day at Eastpark Cinema.
“We try to celebrate the whole month and honor our senior citizens and we should,” Henderson said. “Look at their lives, they’re a wealth of information with their knowledge and experiences. We can all learn from our seniors.”
Each year, one the biggest celebration is held at the Garland Senior Center. The Open House & Resource Fair is scheduled for 9 a.m. Thursday, May 24 at the center, 91 Church Ave., Garland. Along with information vital to seniors, the event will also include live entertainment and a free meal. The event is available at no charge for people of all ages. Marie Faircloth, director of the Garland Senior Center, is looking forward to the event as well.
“We’re getting all sorts of vendors coming out this year,” Faircloth said. “Come and enjoy a free event filled with fun, food and fellowship as we celebrate the many ways older Americans make a difference in our community.”
In 1965, the Older Americans Act was established and provides comprehensive services for older adults. The legislation led to the National Aging Network, which consist of the Administration on Aging on the federal level, State Units on Aging and Area Agencies on Aging at the local level. This networking provides funding based primarily on the percentage of an area’s population that’s 60 and older. Some of the services involve nutrition and supportive home services, disease prevention, health promotion services, elder rights programs and the National Family Caregiver Support Program.
Reach Chase Jordan at 910-592-8137. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd and like us on Facebook.