Older Americans Month is hitting its senior stride! The federal Administration for Community Living established the campaign in 1963, setting aside May as the month to acknowledge the contributions of older Americans and to push back against negative misconceptions about getting older. This year’s theme, Aging Unbound, invites us to celebrate senior accomplishments and take a fresh look at how we talk about aging.

As we pay tribute to the achievements of our esteemed seniors, Older Americans Month provides an opportunity to reflect on their remarkable impact on American society. From shaping our history to enriching our communities, older adults have left an indelible mark that deserves recognition and appreciation.

Seniors Lead the Way as Pioneers and Trailblazers

Older Americans have been at the forefront of shaping our nation’s history. Their perseverance and courage have paved the way for progress and inspired generations to come. From civil rights activists to groundbreaking scientists, artists, and politicians, our seniors have pushed boundaries, broken barriers, and fought for a more inclusive society. Their pioneering spirit serves as a constant reminder of the power of determination and the importance of never giving up.

Senior who accomplished great heights: At the age of 75, Barbara Hillary, a nurse and a breast and lung cancer survivor, became the first black woman to reach both the North Pole and the South Pole. She began traveling the world when she hit her late 60s after serving 55 years as a nurse with a specialty in gerontology. She went dog-sledding in Quebec, photographed polar bears in Manitoba, and visited a nomadic tribe in Outer Mongolia.

Seniors Provide Wisdom and Guidance to Younger Generations

One of the most invaluable gifts older adults bring to our society is their wisdom. Through a lifetime of experiences and lessons learned, they offer guidance, support, and mentorship to younger generations. Their stories and insights enrich our understanding of the world and help shape our decisions. By tapping into the wisdom of our seniors, we can make wiser choices and foster a more compassionate and enlightened society.

Senior who accomplished great insights: Dr. Gladys McGarey was 100 when she started writing her book, The Well-Lived Life, which explores finding and cultivating your life’s purpose and shares her six secrets to health and happiness. McGarey co-founded the American Board of Holistic Medicine and ran a medical practice for 60-plus years. These days at 102, she stays active by walking at least 3,800 steps a day and riding what she calls her “adult tricycle.”

Senior Citizens are the Community Builders Around Our Nation

Older Americans are the pillars of our communities. Their dedication to service and their selflessness creates a nurturing environment for growth and progress. Whether through volunteer work, leading community organizations, or lending a helping hand to those in need, older adults play an integral role in fostering stronger, more connected neighborhoods. Their commitment to making the world a better place serves as a powerful example for all of us.

Senior who accomplished great strides: At age 72 and using $900,000 of her retirement savings, Estella Mims Pyfrom created Estella’s Brilliant Bus as a mobile learning with a dozen computer stations. The bus traveled to underserved communities in Palm Beach County, Fl, and provided access to technology and online education to children and adults.

Elder Americans are the Keepers of Tradition and Culture

Our seniors carry with them the rich tapestry of traditions, values, and cultural heritage that define us as a nation. They are the keepers of stories, traditions, and customs that deserve to be cherished and preserved. By honoring and learning from our older adults, we can ensure that these precious elements of our collective identity continue to thrive and pass down through generations.

Senior who accomplished great delights: TV and movie legends Mel Brooks, 96, Dick Van Dyke, 97, and Norman Lear, 100, are still working as entertainers and producers. Brooks released the sequel to his 1981 comedy History of the World Part 1, Van Dyke was a guest on The Masked Singer, and Lear celebrated becoming a centenarian with a special on ABC.

Seniors Advocate for Change and Champion Causes

Older Americans have consistently shown their commitment to advocating for change and championing causes that matter. Their collective voice has played a pivotal role in shaping policies, fighting for social justice, and addressing important issues that affect not only their generation but also future ones. Their activism and dedication remind us that it is never too late to make a difference and leave a lasting impact.

Senior who accomplished great fights: When in her late 60s, Geri Freedman started the Elders Action Network as a group of elder climate activists committed to bringing awareness and influencing policy changes.

During Older Americans Month, we have the opportunity to honor the accomplishments and contributions of our older adults, recognizing the extraordinary role they have played in shaping American society. Their resilience, wisdom, and unwavering spirit inspire us all to be better and strive for greatness. Let us celebrate their achievements and continue to foster a society that values and uplifts the voices and experiences of our esteemed seniors.

May we carry the torch passed on by our older Americans, ensuring that their legacy lives on and their contributions are acknowledged, cherished, and shared with generations to come. Happy Older Americans Month!


“Older Americans Month Promotes Aging Unbound,” written by Michelle Flores, Amada blog contributor.