On April 18, 1963, President Kennedy issued Proclamation 3527, which designated May 1963 as Senior Citizens Month. In this proclamation, President Kennedy specifically noted that there were currently more than seventeen million persons age sixty-five and over in the United States. He went on to note that “this large segment of our population represents a great national resource of skills, wisdom, and experience upon which much of our Nation’s progress has been built and which continues to enrich our daily lives and to provide counsel and leadership.” Every President since 1963 has, likewise, recognized the importance of this “great national resource,” and continued with the tradition of issuing a proclamation declaring May as a month to show support for older Americans. In 1980, President Carter, changed the name to Older Americans Month. Thus, every year since 1980, May has been known as Older Americans Month. To, further, honor older Americans, the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys continues to support the annual proclamation by having also established May as National Elder Law Month.
We could not agree more with President Kennedy and every President, thereafter, that persons age sixty-five and older absolutely do represent a “great national resource,” for which we are most grateful. It is a resource that has grown tremendously, since that first proclamation in May of 1963, and it is a resource which is continuing to grow. According to the United States Census bureau, as of 2016, this resource had increased to 49.2 million persons and accounted for 15.2 percent of the total U.S. population. These numbers translate to a significant population of Americans with a wealth of wisdom and experience, who are positively influencing our communities each and every day.
We recognize the privilege and honor that lies before us, as we salute our older Americans, and commemorate both Older Americans Month and National Elder Law Month this May and encourage all to join in our nation’s observance of Older Americans Month and National Elder Law Month.
(A copy of President Kennedy’s Proclamation 3527 declaring May 1963 as the first Senior Citizens Month, can be found at: http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/?pid=24066)
The Elder Law Center, P.C. (subsidiary of Mickey, Wilson, Weiler, Renzi & Andersson, P.C., www.mickeywilson.com) is located in Sugar Grove, IL, Kane County, in the Chicago Western Suburbs, phone number: 630-844-0065.