May 2014 is Older Americans Month

May 2014 is Older Americans Month, with the theme of “Safe Today, Healthy Tomorrow.”

Older Americans Month, once known as Senior Citizens Month, has been celebrated since 1963, and is a time to honor older Americans for their contributions and achievements, and raise awareness of issues of importance to seniors.

In New York, a ceremony will be held on Tuesday, May 6 in Albany, to mark Senior Citizens’ Day and Older Americans Month. Older citizens from across the state will be honored by the New York State Office for the Aging, focusing on those who have shared their expertise with their communities through volunteer work.

This year the theme of Older Americans Month is a focus on safety. Seniors are at a much greater risk of unintentional injury than the rest of the population. Falls and other accidents account for millions of injuries and over 30,000 deaths each year.

There are many small changes that older Americans can make to promote safety. These include having one’s vision checked on a regular basis, staying aware of medications that may cause unsteadiness, installing handrails in bathrooms or wearing shoes with non-slip soles to prevent falls, and setting the household water heater to 120 degrees to prevent burns. Seniors should also be aware that daytime driving under good weather conditions is safest, and it is important to avoid distractions while driving.

The Administration for Community Living, which helps seniors live in their homes and participate in their community, has additional resources available at http://acl.gov/olderamericansmonth.

 

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