In May, we honor Older Americans Month. It’s a time for us to stop and express our appreciation of those over the age of 65.
When the observance was established in 1963, only 17 million living Americans had reached their 65th birthday. Presently, according to the 2019 census, there are around 54.1 million Americans age 65 or better, representing 16 percent of the population. The older population is expected to continue to grow significantly in the future, states a report by the Administration for Community Living, part of the Administration on Aging. About 41 percent of the Baby Boomer generation is now 65 and older. By 2040, we will have a population of nearly 81 million older Americans.
They are living longer and sometimes working longer as they either don’t want to retire or simply cannot afford to. They are living in their own homes and plan to continue to do so. That leads us to the theme of Older Americans Month—Age My Way. These seniors are very rarely living in nursing homes and are continuing to live active, engaged lives, as you will read in our feature story this week.
A reader (thank you, Loretta!) reached out to me many months ago, asking if we had room for News of the Weird, she wrote, couldn’t we give some space to the voice of our older Marylanders? She had a point. So this week, we turn the feature space over to a group of writers in a creative writing class at Anne Arundel Community College. Their collected stories are snapshots of why they have chosen to spend their “golden years” here in Chesapeake Country. Unsurprisingly the Bay itself has a pull of its own, giving many of these older adults multiple reasons to stay: the memories they have of their children and grandchildren learning about the Bay, its creatures and about boating, plus their own passion for spending time on the water. Some were introduced to the region thanks to time spent at the U.S. Naval Academy and they return years later. These are just some of the reasons they choose to either stay here or relocate here full time.
Sharing our stories and our experiences help us build community. Talk to the older people in your life, ask them how they want to “age their way”. I plan on bringing this up with my own parents when they come to visit and see their grandson graduate high school (proof we are all aging!). This is the time to put a plan in place.
Also it’s Cinco de Mayo and as we promised on social media, we are pleased to announce that Chesapeake Country really loves the spicy margaritas at JesseJays Latin Inspired Kitchen in Churchton. While I prefer to eat my spices rather than drink them, I know firsthand that JesseJays is a margarita-lovers’ haven. Go enjoy one on their outdoor patio El Swampo.