Older Americans Month is an annual event dating back to 1963, when President John F. Kennedy
designated May as Senior Citizens Month. It was later renamed Older Americans Month, honoring older
Americans and celebrating their contributions to our communities and our nation.
History of Older Americans Month
When Older Americans Month was established in 1963, only 17 million living Americans had reached
their 65th birthday. About a third of older Americans lived in poverty and there were few programs
to meet their needs. Interest in older Americans and their concerns was growing. A meeting in April
1963 between President John F. Kennedy and members of the National Council of Senior Citizens led
to designating May as “Senior Citizens Month,” the prelude to “Older Americans Month.”
Historically, Older Americans Month has been a time to acknowledge the contributions of past and
current older persons to our country, in particular those who defended our country. Every President
since Kennedy has issued a formal proclamation during or before the month of May asking that the
entire nation pays tribute in some way to older persons in their communities. Older Americans Month
is celebrated across the country through ceremonies, events, fairs, and other such activities.