By Kay Kaylor
I advocate for residents in skilled nursing and assisted living residences as the regional long-term care ombudsman. I also am trained as a Senior Medicare Patrol and State Health Insurance Assistance Program counselor, all as an employee of San Juan Basin Area Agency on Aging (SJBAAA). The many aging and care concerns will be addressed here.
May is Older Americans Month, and the theme this year is “Communities of Strength,” appropriate for these difficult times. The designation is led by the federal Administration for Community Living (ACL) and proclaimed by the president.
“I call upon Americans of all ages to celebrate older Americans during this month and throughout the year,” President Biden states in the May 3 proclamation.
Acknowledging the hardships of the past year, Biden notes, “In spite of this, older Americans have stepped up to support their families, friends and neighbors. They are among our essential workers, volunteers and donors, bolstering their communities and inspiring others to do the same. I am committed to ensuring older adults are central in our country’s recovery efforts.”
The proclamation also describes issues the administration supports, including the funding added to the Older Americans Act programs through the American Rescue Plan.
The president states that much more can be done to ensure that older Americans “live and age with dignity.” He pledges that “We are committed to ensuring older Americans can easily access appropriate services they need to stay safe and healthy as they age.”
On its acl.gov Older Americans Month Web page, the ACL provides logos, posters, artwork and templates to help people recognize and celebrate the month. In addition, it has an activity link with ideas such as creating intergenerational pen or keyboard pals; organizing distanced outdoor events, such as a musical performance or game night; or working on group projects, such as a community garden, art project or quilt.
SJBAAA offers resources for people age 60 and older or on Medicare; see sjbaaa.org. For further information and assistance, call (970) 264-0501 and listen to the recording to select an extension.