Older Americans Month is a celebration that takes place in May every year in the United States. This event recognizes contributions and sacrifices made by older adults to society. It was first established in 1963 by President John F. Kennedy, and since then, it has been a time to honor and show appreciation for older adults.
This year's theme is "Aging Unbound," which offers an opportunity to explore diverse aging experiences and discuss how communities can combat stereotypes. Embracing the diversity of aging experiences means recognizing that aging is a complex and multifaceted process that varies greatly among individuals and communities. By listening to and valuing the voices of older adults from different backgrounds, we gain a deeper understanding of their challenges and the unique contributions they make to our society.
Older adults bring a wealth of knowledge, experience, and wisdom that can benefit everyone. By supporting and celebrating older adults, we can build stronger and more resilient communities for all.
In addition to celebrating the contributions of older adults, it's also essential to recognize the critical role of family caregivers who support them. Many older adults rely on family members to provide essential care and assistance, and these caregivers often face significant challenges in balancing work and caregiving responsibilities. Employers have a crucial role to play in supporting family caregivers. For example, they can:
- offer flexible work arrangements, such as telecommuting or flexible schedules, to help caregivers balance their caregiving responsibilities with work.
- provide paid leave for caregivers to attend to the needs of their loved ones.
- offer resources and support to caregivers, such as access to employee assistance programs, counseling services, and caregiver support groups.
By recognizing the challenges faced by family caregivers, employers can create a more supportive work environment and retain valuable employees who may otherwise have to leave the workforce to care for their loved ones.
Supporting family caregivers pairs perfectly with the recognition and celebration of the contributions of older adults. By working together, we can create a more supportive and inclusive society for older adults and their caregivers.
Caregivers, get connected with other caregivers for valuable support and resources. These resources are available at no charge: ABC11's Caregivers Corner Facebook group, access to Duke Health's 2022 virtual caregivers event, and this ABC11's Caregivers Corner website.