older man smiling in garden

May is Older Americans Month, but how did we get here and how should we celebrate it?

The first question is relatively easy.  Older Americans Month was established in 1963 by President John F. Kennedy after meeting with members of the National Council of Senior Citizens.  Every President since has issued a formal proclamation asking the entire nation to pay tribute in some way to older persons in their communities.  Since the 1980s there has also been a theme for each year – the 2023 theme is Aging Unbound. 

So, how should you be celebrating if you are a senior? Well, many are truly enjoying living the “unbound” life by throwing themselves into second careers, helping others, discovering new interests, and pursuing dreams.  

If this is for you, you might find reinventing yourself can be fun and rewarding.  Whether you are planning for retirement or simply looking to get involved in new activities, start by thinking about your skills, dreams, and passions.  Thankfully there are many organizations in Mill Valley who really need experienced help today.   

Others are living the “unbound” life by expressing themselves through the arts. If this sounds good to you, you might consider learning to paint or draw, dust off your dancing shoes, or put your musical talent to use, take a class in stand-up comedy or acting, or finally write that story.  Even if you never felt artistic, everyone has the ability to be creative. As a bonus, studies show that the arts can improve brain health and Mill Valley is full of opportunities to explore your artistic side. 

Still others want to keep learning by trying a new language or taking a computer class. Maybe you have always wanted to travel and discover other cultures.  Some use their years of experience to serve others by volunteering to meet a range of community needs. 

No matter how you choose to celebrate an “unbound” life there are clear benefits.  All of the above help you keep your mind active and maintain good physical health.  Most provide structure and routine, connect you with the community, and prevent isolation.  Some even provide a little income.  Whatever you choose, here’s wishing you the best as we all celebrate everything you can do!  Congratulations for being an older American.

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