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Getting older doesn’t mean what it used to.
For many aging Americans, it is a phase of life where interests, goals, and dreams can get a new or second start. Today, aging is about eliminating outdated perceptions and living the life that suits you best.
A good example is Barbara Hillary. A nurse for 55 years who dreamed of travel. At age 75 Hillary became the first African American woman to set foot on the North Pole. In 2011, at age 79, she set another first when she stepped onto the South Pole. Former president George H.W. Bush celebrated his 90th birthday by skydiving. Actress Betty White, now 95 years old, became the oldest person to host Saturday Night Live in 2010, coincidentally during May—the same month recognized as Older Americans Month (OAM).
The US Census projected there were 47.8 million people age 65 and older living in the US. in 2015. This group accounted for 14.9 percent of the total population. The age 65 and older population grew 1.6 million from 2014.
The projected population of people age 65 and older in 2060 is 98.2 million. People in this age group will comprise nearly one in four U.S. residents. Of this number, 19.7 million will be age 85 or older.
The number of people age 100 and older counted by the 2010 Census reached 53,364. In 2010, over half (62.5 percent) of the 53,364 centenarians were age 100 or 101. Today, it is not uncommon for people to live to 105 or 106 years of age.
Super senior Ida Trammel is a good example of what aging adults are capable of today. At the age of 91, Ida proved to be fearless and resilient to win the 2016 President's Cup at the Olivas Links Women's Golf Club. The final match was held on October 6, 2016 in Ventura, CA.
Believed to the oldest player to win the President's Club Championship at the Olivas Links Women's Club, Trammel picked up golf at the age of 75. A resident of Ventura, she remains very active and plays golf at least once a week.
Honoring Older Americans has been occurring annually since the 60s. After a meeting with the National Council of Senior Citizens, President John F. Kennedy encouraged all Americans to pay tribute to older people across the country by designating May 1963 as Senior Citizens Month. Every president since has issued a formal proclamation during or before the month of May in support of older Americans.
In 1980, President Jimmy Carter issued a proclamation changing the name of this observance to Older Americans Month. Since 1963, OAM has been a time to celebrate older Americans, their stories, and their contributions. Led by the Administration for Community Living (ACL), the annual observance offers a special opportunity to learn about, support, and recognize our nation’s older citizens. This year’s theme, “Age Out Loud,” emphasizes the ways older adults are living their lives with boldness, confidence, and passion while serving as an inspiration to people of all ages.