The month of May is Older American Month — a Month that is a perfect opportunity for retirement communities to hold celebrations recognizing the contributions made – and continuing to be made — to our country and our local neighborhoods by citizens age 65 and older. Inviting seniors and their families to these events and promoting them will also increase awareness of your community as well as all that you do, while differentiating you from your competitors. This year’s observance is even more special because May 2013 marks the 50th commemoration of Older Americans Month, first designated by President John F.  Kennedy in 1963. The Administration on Aging has established 2013’s theme as “Unleash the Power of Age” to call attention to seniors as productive, active and influential members of society as they share their essential talents, wisdom, and life experience with their families, friends and neighbors. Naturally, inviting your own residents to participate in an event you open to local seniors will give them an opportunity to welcome others into the community, show off their home and showcase their own unique talents and history.  

A Plan of Action

One of the easiest events to plan and hold is to just “Get A Party Started!”  Pick a date and time, decide what light refreshments you want to serve and invite local seniors and their families to join your residents in Saluting Older Americans. Make sure your invitation or flyer makes it clear what they are being invited to, for example:

“You are cordially invited to join us to celebrate Older Americans Month.”

 It is important to include in your promotional material the benefits of participating – that is; what’s in it for seniors who attend. For example: “Meet new people! Enjoy refreshments! Experience our senior community first-hand!” If you are able to include an activity during the event based on the theme “Unleash the Power of Age” so much the better, for instance, invite a local senior prominent in a specific field – an author, for example, to speak. You might even be able to arrange in advance for a few of your residents to tell how they share their power and life lessons. Perhaps one resident can describe how she taught her great granddaughter to compose an exciting, appealing photograph. Or another may discuss his experiences volunteering in the shop class of the local high school. During your event, you can encourage guests to share how they might be passing down what they’ve learned and experienced. Or, you may have the time and resources to create a PowerPoint or video showing ways seniors can “Unleash the Power of Age.” Additionally, because the President proclaims Older Americans Month, the observance lends itself to civic or political activities. Invite a local elected official or two into your community to address your residents and guests. Most will relish the opportunity to “meet and greet” their constituents – the largest bloc of voters by age group! Older American Month is an occasion to showcase life at your senior living community. Be creative, have fun, think of something that an 80-year-old would enjoy, and demonstrate the respect and admiration your community has for our elders.  


  • The month of May is dedicated to seniors starting as Senior Citizen’s Month in 1963 by President John F. Kennedy. At that time, only 17 million Americans reached their 65th birthdays. Today 35 million Americans are age 65 or older.
  • In 1980 President Jimmy Carter changed the name from “Senior Citizens” to “Older Americans Month”.
  • Older Americans Month is a time to acknowledge the contributions of past and current older persons to our nation.
  • Older Americans Month is celebrated across the country through ceremonies, events, fairs and other such activities.

Do you have plans to celebrate Older Americans Month? Is it a part of your marketing/sales program? Pam McDonald