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The Ohio Department of Aging

Ohio Department of Aging Older Americans Month and Senior Citizens Day History

History of Older Americans Month

In April, 1963, President John F. Kennedy met with the National Council on Senior Citizens. Their meeting was the foundation for an annual observation of May as Senior Citizens Month. Every President since has issued a formal proclamation during or before the month of May asking that the entire nation pay tribute in some way to older persons in their communities. President Jimmy Carter originated the title of Older Americans Month in his 1980 proclamation.

In 1963, only 17 million Americans were age 65 or older and about a third of them lived in poverty. Today, there are more than 36 million Americans over the age of 65, accounting for 12 percent of the total population, though only 10 percent live in poverty. The oldest of the baby boom generation began turning 60 in 2006. The U.S. Census Bureau estimates that, by 2050, 87 million Americans will be age 65 or older, accounting for 21 percent of the population.

Ohio has supported statewide activities for Older Americans Month since 1977. Each year, the Department of Aging announces a unique theme celebrating some of the many aspects of our older citizens. Past themes are:

  • 2016: Aging. It's Everybody's Business
  • 2015: Well Beyond 60!
  • 2014: Safe Today. Healthy Tomorrow.
  • 2013: Unleash the Power: Be a Golden Buckeye!
  • 2012: never too old to...
  • 2011: Older Ohioans - Connecting Communities
  • 2010: Age Strong! Live Long!
  • 2009: Reinvent Yourself, Reinvent Aging
  • 2008: Loving Life, Helping Others, Supporting Communities
  • 2007: Be Your Best: Body, Mind and Spirit
  • 2006: Be Healthy, Be Vibrant!
  • 2005: Celebrate Long-term Living
  • 2004: Aging Well, Living Well
  • 2003: What We Do Makes a Difference
  • 2002: America: A Community for All Ages
  • 2001: Seniors in the Swing of Things
  • 2000: Ohio… a Great Place to Grow Up, and a Great Place to Grow Old!
  • 1999: Honor the Past, Imagine the Future: Towards a Society for All Ages
  • 1998: Living Longer, Growing Stronger - A Salute to Ohio's Senior Citizens
  • 1997: Celebrate a Tradition - Ohio's 20th Senior Citizen's Day
  • 1996: Aging: A Lifetime Opportunity
  • 1995: As Time Goes By
  • 1994: Honoring Our Heritage; Framing Our Future
  • 1993: Share the Journey
  • 1992: In Honor of Diversity
  • 1991: Ohio's Seniors: Our Brightest Stars
  • 1990: A Partnership of Ages
  • 1989: Caring and Sharing: Generations in Action
  • 1988: A Celebration of Age
  • 1987: Reach new Heights
  • 1986: Unfold a Celebration
  • 1985: Join the Young at Heart
  • 1984: We're Celebrating Senior Citizens Day Across the Whole Bloomin' State
  • 1983: Senior Citizens - Weavers of Life's Tapestry
  • 1982: Senior Citizens - A Growing Voice
  • 1981: Senior Citizens - Ohio's Greatest Resource
  • 1980: Senior Citizens - Beautiful Ohioans
  • 1979: Older Ohioans - Partners in the Community
  • 1978: Older Ohioans - Up to Date in '78
  • 1977: Senior Citizens in Action