Written by Stephanie Herbers, MSW/MPH, manager of the Harvey A. Friedman Center for Aging at the Institute for Public Health
Getting older doesn’t mean what it used to. Many aging Americans are finding ways to re-think traditional phases of life and give their interests, goals, and dreams a new or second start. Today, older adults are eliminating outdated perceptions and living the way that suits them best.
Take Barbara Hillary, for example. A nurse for 55 years who dreamed of travel, at age 75 Hillary became the first African American woman to set foot on the North Pole. In 2011, at age 79, she set another first when she stepped onto the South Pole. Former president George H.W. Bush celebrated his 90th birthday by skydiving. Actress Betty White, now 95 years old, became the oldest person to host Saturday Night Live in 2010, coincidentally during May—the same month recognized as Older Americans Month.
Since 1963, Older Americans Month has been a time to celebrate older Americans, their stories, and their contributions. Led by the Administration for Community Living (ACL), the annual observance offers a special opportunity to learn about, support, and recognize our nation’s older citizens. This year’s theme, “Age Out Loud,” emphasizes the ways older adults are living their lives with boldness, confidence, and passion while serving as an inspiration to people of all ages.
In honor of Older American’s Month, we will highlight various topics related to aging on the Institute for Public Health’s blog. Posts will include how individuals and organizations are redefining aging, as well as how experiences in older age, like any other times in life, are affected by our programs, policies, and environments.