Celebrate Older Americans Month this May (2024)

May is an important month in the world of healthcare. Between Older Americans Month and several healthcare observances like stroke and arthritis awareness, learn how you can show your support this May.

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Celebrate Older Americans Month this May (2024)
6 Min Read May 1st, 2024

Honoring older Americans can be a great way to recognize the contributions made by millions of people. The month of May offers a unique opportunity to do exactly that. May is Older Americans Month, which celebrates over 56 million Americans at or over the age of 65. 

Older Americans Month is a testament to the invaluable contributions of seniors. This annual tradition helps us show our appreciation for their wisdom and hard work. 

Seniors aren’t the only ones being celebrated this May. In addition to Older Americans Month, May is also dedicated to:

  • Arthritis Awareness Month

  • Stroke Awareness Month

  • High Blood Pressure Awareness Month

  • National Nurses Week 

This month gives us the opportunities to learn from and uplift one another while creating awareness around some of the country's most pressing health and age concerns. 

What Is Older Americans Month?

Older Americans Month acknowledges the great contributions of America's elders. 

This month-long celebration started with President John F. Kennedy and members of the National Council of Senior Citizens in 1963. They wanted to find a way to appreciate their seniors better. They settled on dedicating a month to older Americans, kicking off the holiday with an appreciation speech from the President each year. 

Since 1978, each Older Americans Month has followed a different theme. 2024's theme is "Powered by Connection." This year's goal is to recognize the power of connection that older Americans hold and their ability to reshape interpersonal relationships for the better

How To Show Your Appreciation for Older Americans This May

Older adults want to be celebrated, but we may not always know the best ways to recognize them. One thing we need to remember about older adults is the extensive experience and wisdom they've gained over the years. 

Many seniors want to give back to their communities and loved ones by sharing their wealth of knowledge. Incorporating them into different activities can work wonders for making older adults feel more appreciated. Here are a few examples:

  • Letting them lead events or workshops. Older adults can share a lifetime's worth of professional experience through workshops or teaching events. 

  • Ask them to share their stories, expertise, or experience. Life works in cycles, and older adults have conquered many of the challenges you're facing right now. Asking for their opinion or advice on specific situations can help seniors feel more valued and confident in their experiences and connections.  

  • Involving them in decisions and activities. Older adults may not be at the pinnacle of health or ability, but many seniors are still as sharp as they were in their 20s or 30s. Don't forget to involve them in your favorite games, events, and activities. 

  • Letting them work if they want to and are able to. Many older adults are retired, but that doesn't mean all want to stop working. Some seniors are truly passionate about their careers. Stripping away the sense of work satisfaction can be devastating to passionate seniors. 

  • Advocating for seniors' rights and speaking out against ageism. Ageism is a very real issue, especially in the workplace. It's important to help give older adults a voice; they have meaningful advice to share with younger peers. 

Other May Healthcare Observances

May is an important month for healthcare observances, and not just for Older Americans Month. In fact, there are several other conditions and causes that deserve your attention this month. 

Arthritis Awareness Month

Arthritis is one of the leading causes of disability in the U.S. and is a common reason for needing long-term care. According to the CDC, almost 26 million people around the U.S. are unable to live completely independently or complete daily activities of living due to arthritis. 

A study from 2021 estimates that 21% of Americans (or 53.2 million) have arthritis. Contrary to popular belief, arthritis affects individuals of all ages around the U.S., not just seniors.

In 1972, President Nixon collaborated with the Arthritis Foundation to bring national attention to arthritis. This is when Arthritis Awareness Month started, with the goal of raising money and awareness for those struggling.  

Stroke Awareness Month

The American Stroke Association estimated strokes caused 1 in 21 deaths in the U.S. in 2021. This gruesome statistic doesn't even cover the amount of strokes that did not lead to death in the U.S. each year. 

The disheartening reality of strokes is that while yes many people die; there is a large percentage of people who survive and need long-term care afterward. 

Stroke Awareness Month aims to bring attention to those struggling with stroke recovery and those grieving the loss of loved ones who have suffered a fatal stroke. 

One of the most important takeaways from Stroke Awareness Month is recognizing the signs of a stroke. Every second counts when you have a stroke. The main warning signs include:

  • Face drooping

  • Arm weakness

  • Speech difficulty

If you see any of these, you should call 911 immediately. The longer you wait, the worse it could be for your loved one. Strokes are caused by a loss of blood flow to the brain, either through a blood clot or brain hemorrhage. 

When the brain loses blood and oxygen flow, brain cells start to die almost immediately. This leads to permanent brain damage, disability, and sometimes death. 

Recognizing the risk factors and warning signs of stroke and knowing what to do in that situation can save lives. 

High Blood Pressure Awareness Month

High blood pressure (or hypertension) affects 122.4 million (46.7%) of the U.S. population and is the country's third leading underlying cause of death. However, many people aren't even aware they have hypertension. This has led to high blood pressure gaining the nickname the "silent killer."

The month of May represents High Blood Pressure Education Month. Emphasize the word "education" in that title because one of the simplest ways to combat high blood pressure is to learn about the ways to manage the condition. 

High blood pressure is often made worse by poor lifestyle choices like poor diet and exercise choices. Adding daily movement, medications, and a healthy diet to your lifestyle can help lower your blood pressure and extend your life.  

Outside of the U.S. national high blood pressure month, May 17th is also World Hypertension Day. This year's theme is "Measure Your Blood Pressure Accurately, Control It, Live Longer.”

National Nurses Week

National Nurses Week is celebrated from May 6th through May 12th. This holiday recognizes over 5 million registered nurses throughout the U.S.

Nurses are the backbone of our healthcare system. Without nurses, we wouldn't be able to save millions of lives each year. Their dedication and passion help us stay healthy and secure. 

This year's theme is "Nurses Make the Difference," which emphasizes the powerful, widespread impact of nursing on the medical field. You can use the hashtag "#NursesLightUpTheSky" to show your support online this May.

Long-Term Care Awareness Is Essential this May

Between various health condition awareness movements and supporting our nurses and seniors, May is a busy month. With the changing world and aging population, it is now as important as ever to demonstrate our support.

Some of the best ways to support those struggling with their health or older adults in your life are to learn more about their struggles and hold empathy for everyone in your life. 

LTC News has a plethora of resources to help you keep up to date with the latest healthcare holidays and resources to help you and your loved ones cope with the realities of chronic conditions, aging, and long-term care. Here are a few resources:

  • Caring for a Loved One With Arthritis – Does your loved one have arthritis? Caring for a loved one with arthritis is a challenging endeavor, which can be made easier with proper research and training. We'll offer a few tips to lessen the mental load of being a family or informal caregiver. 

  • Caregiving 101: Types of Caregiving and Selecting a Caregiver – Is your loved one struggling with a health condition that requires long-term care? Learning about the different types of caregivers and services available can help relieve your loved one of their struggles and help you as an informal caregiver. 

  • I'm in Good Health. Why Would I Need to be Concerned About Long-Term Health Care? – It's easy to believe you'll never need long-term care, especially if you're healthy. The caveat here is that at one point, a majority of people who needed long-term care were once healthy. This article discusses why it's important to plan for long-term care even if you don't think you'll need it. 
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About the Author

Holly works with long-term care experts to help spread education and awareness about long-term care, caregiving, and LTC Insurance.

LTC News Contributor Holly Ellison

Holly Ellison

Contributor since October 17th, 2023

Editor's Note

Older Americans often struggle the most with long-term care. If you or your loved one needs long-term care, LTC News's Long-Term Care Directory can help. 

Our care directory can help you search through thousands of care facilities, providers, and services in your or your loved one's area.  


Care Directory

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In addition, Long-Term Care Insurance can be a great way to help cover the cost of long-term care. LTC News has several resources to kickstart your LTC Insurance journey so you can get affordable and effective coverage. 

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We welcome new stories to share with our readers. If your group, business, or committee has news to share, we encourage you to submit a press release to us. 

You can submit your press release - newsroom@ltcnews.com 

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