May is Older Americans Month!

The Administration for Community Living and the Administration on Aging, which come under the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, continue this great tradition and their commitment to recognizing the valuable contributions older adults make in communities across our country. This year's theme is "Unleash the Power of Age."


The Administration for Community Living's website, http://www.olderamericansmonth.acl.gov, states, "Every older American has a wealth of talents, experiences, and interests worth celebrating." Each of us is encouraged to think of ideas and activities we can use to unleash the power of our age! "Throughout the month of May, look for opportunities to show the vibrant life that you and your fellow older Americans lead."

The Administration on Aging encourages older Americans to engage with one another in communal and creative activities. Communal activities could take the form of volunteering, getting involved in or forming a speakers' bureau for older adults, communal gardening, a communitywide sports day or a potluck meal that includes the sharing of stories and experiences. Express yourself creatively by joining others in performing in a musical, play, talent contest, poetry reading or an art show.

Also, the AOA wants to promote Unleash the Power of Age, through Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. They make it easy for you to help them promote Older Americans Month by using the social media tools provided in the Social Media Gallery on the website provided above. On the site, there are some amazing photos to pin or post; some with vital statistics on older Americans, such as, "By 2014, 41 percent of adults aged 55 and older will still be in the workplace."

Each year, May is declared National Elder Law Month. Maryland is also celebrating Older Americans/Marylanders Month. Here in Howard County, the Governor's Leadership in Aging Awards are being presented at the Ten Oaks Ballroom in Clarksville.

Since 2008, this has been the Maryland Department of Aging's signature event held each May in observance of Older Marylanders Month "to recognize individuals and groups for excellence and outstanding contributions to the field of aging and quality of life for seniors."

Awards are given in the categories of trailblazer, visual arts, performing arts, health and vitality, and lifetime achievement. To find previous winners, go to http://www.aging.maryland.gov/GovernorLeadershipAwards.html.

Karren J. Pope-Onwukwe, a member of the Howard County bar, was named Trailblazer in 2012. Her online bio states that she is a prominent elder law attorney, bar leader and community activist, whose practice centers around helping clients plan for aging, disability and wealth transfer.

Her website, http://www.kpopeatty.com, is quite interesting. It offers the visitor reasons why the elder law attorney is often not in the office. It also mentions that each year the month of May is declared National Elder Law Month, with many free clinics and seminars sponsored by elder law attorneys all over the United States.

Now let's see what's in store for us for Older Americans Month. Here is a sampling.

The Bain Center Council and the Division of Continuing Education at Howard Community College are sponsoring a Senior Artist Reception and Wine Tasting, Wednesday, May 15, from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m., at the Bain Center. There will be art on display, an assortment of wines for tasting from Linganore Winecellars of Maryland that will be available for purchase, and complimentary refreshments and live music. The art exhibition runs May 10 to 31.

East Columbia is having a Flowers and Jazz Concert, Tuesday, May 7, with light hors d'oeuvres at 6:30 p.m. and the concert at 7. Music will be provided by Gina De Simone and the Moaners. Annuals in hanging baskets will be on sale for Mother's Day.

Check the May calendar or newsletter at your favorite Howard County Senior Center and find ways to celebrate this special month recognizing older adults, or create your own celebration with your friends and family.