By Jim McCall, Alaska Housing’s Senior Housing Office
As we celebrate the 60th anniversary of Older Americans Month in May, we turn our attention to the unique and diverse population of older Alaskans, who have contributed so much to the state’s success and development.
This year’s theme, “Aging Unbound,” encourages us to reflect on the opportunities and rewards that come with growing older and to celebrate the many accomplishments of our elder citizens.
Reflecting on Accomplishments
Alaska is home to a rich and diverse population of elders and senior citizens, including Alaska Natives, immigrants and longtime residents who all have played vital roles in the state’s history and culture. From pioneering new industries to preserving ways of life, Alaska’s elder citizens have made significant contributions through the years.
As we celebrate Older Americans Month, we invite all Alaskans to reflect on the many accomplishments of our older citizens and to honor their contributions to our state. From small acts of kindness to significant achievements in business, science and the arts, our elder citizens have helped to shape Alaska’s unique identity and culture.
We also recognize the unique challenges that our elder citizens face, particularly those living in rural areas or struggling with health issues. We know the importance of solid healthcare, social services and affordable housing in ensuring our elder citizens have the support and resources needed to thrive as they age.
Embracing the Spirit of ‘Aging Unbound’
During the month of May we encourage all Alaskans to take time to celebrate the accomplishments and contributions of older Alaskans. Whether it’s spending time with a grandparent, volunteering at a senior center or simply reflecting on the many ways in which our elder citizens have enriched our lives, let us all embrace the spirit of “Aging Unbound” and celebrate the unique gifts and talents of our older Alaskans.
In honor of Older Americans Month we pause to reflect on a quote from President John F. Kennedy, who first proclaimed this special month in 1963: “As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.”
Jim McCall leads Alaska Housing’s Senior Housing Office. Contact Jim if you are looking for information on AHFC programs that may assist older Alaskans.