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 Today, aging is about eliminating outdated perceptions and living the way that suits you best.

Take Barbara Hillary, for example. 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).

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.

Community Health Center of Northeast Oklahoma will use OAM 2017 to focus on how older adults in our community are redefining aging—through work or family interests, by taking charge of their health and staying independent for as long as possible, and through their community and advocacy efforts. We can also use this opportunity to learn how we can best support and learn from our community’s older members.

Throughout the month, Community Health Center of Northeast Oklahoma, will conduct activities and share information designed to highlight resources for older Americans. We encourage you to get involved by stopping by one of our health centers or going to our website to get free information, guides, DVD’s etc.

Join us and ACL as we speak up for #OAM17 and #AgeOutLoud this May! Go to our website http://www.chcneo.com/education for links and information.

Locally, Community Health Center of Northeast Oklahoma, Inc., dba Afton and Grove Community Health Centers continue to serve the area with the finest in personalized health care. For details or to schedule an appointment contact (918) 257-8029 or (918) 801-7504 or check us out on the web at www.chcneo.com.

– Lee Hilliard, D.Min., Th.D., CAC, is the Outreach and Enrollment Specialist at the Community Health Center of Northeast Oklahoma. For local enrollment assistance with Marketplace, Insure Oklahoma or SoonerCare, please contact Lee at 918-219-4486 or lhilliard@chcneo.org.