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When the Kennedy administration designated May as Older Americans Month (OAM) 58 years ago, only 17 million Americans had reached their 65th birthday. Today, nearly 55 million Americans are aged 65+. As our population ages, it is important to acknowledge the unique contributions of past and current older adults to our society. For CTN, OAM offers the opportunity to celebrate the engagement, curiosity, and wisdom of our senior learners. 

This year’s OAM theme is “Communities of Strength.” It is no secret that the past year presented older Americans with several unforeseen challenges — from shifting to a digital world of telehealth and Zoom activities, to enduring long periods of isolation and self-quarantine. Nonetheless, older adult Americans are exuding strength and positivity. 

A 2020 CDC survey showed adults aged 65 and older were less likely to have anxiety, depression, and stress-related disorder than people in younger age groups. “Older adults can often acknowledge the difficulties of life without losing sight of why they want to keep living,” says Dr. Maureen Nash, medical director at Providence Elderplace. “They also typically understand the need for expressing gratitude and forgiveness, as opposed to harboring past resentments, which can foster healthy aging.”

CTN’s community of older adult learners has been resilient and enthusiastic in their digital skills training. They consistently show up to learn, grow, and form virtual relationships with those around them. As CTN works to foster relationships across generations and cultures, we celebrate the many ways that older adults enrich our lives. This of course includes our older American employees and our volunteers. Without you, all of this would not be possible. Thank you for enriching our communities and making us stronger!

Building Communities of Strength: Older Americans Month 2021

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Kami Griffiths