You may have heard recently that May is Older Americans Month, or you might have known this since 1963 when it was first established. Every year since then a proclamation is made by the President of the United States to establish the month as a time to recognize the contribution our elders have made to this country. The proclamation calls on all Americans to “honor our elders, acknowledge their contributions, care for those in need, and reaffirm our country’s commitment to older Americans this month and throughout the year.” It also aims to “urge all Americans to reach out to loved ones, neighbors, and strangers to extend love, compassion, and encouragement. By delivering food and supplies to the homebound, mailing greeting cards, or using technology to stay connected, we can support our seniors as we defeat the virus.”
This year, Make Your Mark is the theme which encourages seniors to tell their stories and connect with others. While this cannot be done in person, there are many resources that seniors can use such as social media or face-to-face video platforms. The Administration for Community Living has provided a list of activities that can be done to engage with others during Older Americans Month such as joining a virtual book club, having video calls with friends during dinner and much more. There are plenty of activities that are educational, entertaining and promote connection to family, friends and even strangers!
We all know that coronavirus has impacted the senior population the most, so the president outlined steps the government is taking to ensure the safety of the senior population, especially those in nursing homes as it relates to the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act. His administration is working to ensure that nursing homes report cases to the CDC and he is also implementing a “Coronavirus Commission for Safety and Quality in Nursing Homes”. This will be led by industry experts and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will have the commission conduct recommendations to help inform responses to COVID-19 in nursing homes. Lastly, the CMS administrator mentioned the announcement of lowering insulin prices for seniors.