This first day of May, 2012 ushers in Older Americans Month. This year’s theme “Never Too Old to Play” encourages older Americans to stay engaged, active and involved in their own lives and in their communities. Who are these Americans? The older population–persons 65 years or older–numbered 40.4 million in 2010 – the most recent year for which data are available. They represented 13.1% of the U.S. population, over one in every eight Americans. In 2010, there were 23.0 million older women and 17.5 million older men, or a sex ratio of 132 women for every 100 men. The female to male sex ratio increases with age, ranging from 112 for the 65-69 age group to a high of 206 for persons 85 and over.
Congress enacted the Older American Act in 1965 – passed as a part of President Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society reforms. Though adjusted, changed, contracted and expanded through many administrations, the stated purpose of the OAA remains “to ensure equal opportunity to the fair and free enjoyment of: adequate income in retirement; the best possible physical and mental health services without regard to economic status; suitable housing; restorative and long term care; opportunity for employment; retirement in health, honor, and dignity; civic, cultural, educational and recreational participation and contribution; efficient community services; immediate benefit from proven research knowledge; freedom, independence, and the exercise of self determination; and protection against abuse neglect and exploitation.” The Act was last amended in 2006.
Learn more here on the AoA website: http://www.aoa.gov/AoARoot/Index.aspx