U.S. Celebrates Older Americans Month; May 2012 Theme is “Never Too Old to Play”

May 11, 2012 | In celebration of May as Older Americans Month, people of all ages across the nation will come together to honor the unique impact and influence of the elderly on their local communities. This year’s theme – “Never Too Old to Play” – will help celebrate the accomplishments of older Americans and encourage them to find even more ways to stay engaged, active and involved in their own lives and in their communities.

According to a White House Briefing Statement, this month’s “play” theme recognizes that older Americans are active and eventful in their communities, giving younger generations the benefit of their wisdom and experience.  Showing appreciation for the elderly is as easy as setting up a “play date” to help enrich the lives of older adults.

According to the Department of Health & Human Services Administration on Aging, hosting a “Day of Play” is a great way to celebrate the month. Other suggestions for celebration include:

  • Getting physical, with activities like miniature golf or water aerobics;
  • Brain activities, like a trivia competition or playing classic board games;
  • Bridging the generation gap, by hosting a community scavenger hunt or group outing; or
  • Getting creative, by painting a mural or flying a kite

Experts at the Toy Industry Association agree that engaging in play with the elderly is a great way to build shared memories.

“Intergenerational play is a fun-filled way to foster relationships, make positive connections and stimulate creativity,” said Adrienne Appell, trend expert at TIA. “Toys and games that interest and challenge all players – both young and old – really bring grandparents and grandkids together.”

An online activity toolkit is available to jumpstart the celebrations; free pledge badges, posters and flyers to help advertise community events can also be downloaded online. Community members that wish to share their stories via social media can do so by using the hashtag #OAM2012.

Since 1963, communities across the country have come together to celebrate Older Americans Month – a proud tradition that shows our nation’s commitment to recognizing the contributions and achievements of older Americans.