Older Americans Month: Engage at Every Age

This year, Older Americans Month (observed every May) addresses one of our favorite topics, “Keeping Engaged at Every Age.” The client managers at Eddy & Schein have had the pleasure of working with seniors for the last 20 years. In this time, we’ve posted many articles that share ideas of how to keep our loved ones engaged as they age, and the importance of participating in activities that promote mental and physical wellness. 

While the positive effects of self-care cannot be overstated, it is also important to remember that we are never too old to make a difference in our world. The breadth of experience that seniors have gives them the ability to offer wisdom and experience to the next generation. What an amazing range of events seniors have lived through; each decade varies from the next and differs even more from the world we live in today. Below are a few examples of insight, experience, and history that come with age:

  • Today’s 105-year-olds were born around the time of the mass commercialization of electric lights, the assembly line produced the car, and commercial airline flights (the first lasted 23 minutes in 1914). They lived through World War I, the roaring 20s, and Prohibition. They were 16 during the historic stock market crash and 26 at the beginning of World War II. 
  • The 95-year-olds were born during the stock market boom, just before the Great Depression, and were 16 at the start of World War II. The men in their family may have been among the first to be drafted, while their mothers or sisters may have taken on industrial jobs not previously available to women. 
  • The 85-year-olds were born in 1933 in the middle of the Great Depression, shortly before World War II started in Europe and may have had parents overseas fighting. They may also have escaped the conflict to make a new life in the United States.  
  • The 75-year-olds, born at the tail end of World War II, became adults in the era of the Glenn Miller Orchestra, Elvis, and the Beat generation. They saw the inventions of the beginning of the century progress and become commonplace. 
  • The 1st Baby Boomers became seniors when they turned 65 in 2011 and, as children, experienced the introduction of color TV, and lived through the Vietnam War as well as the youth rebellion of the 60s and early 70s.

In addition to the known generational events common to those born in the United States, consider the influence of race, ethnicity, gender, environment (rural, suburban, city) and family economics, and the wide variety of cultural experiences and terrors experienced by those who escaped from their homelands. 

All of these experiences have helped to shape, not only who they are as people, but how they respond and adapt to the world we live in today, including their approach to computers, internet, portable electronics, use of credit and debit cards, and other more recent inventions. Perhaps more importantly, their lives have given them a unique perspective, adding to the wealth of knowledge they have to share. 

Older Americans have opportunities to contribute and stay engaged at every age — whether through one-on-one interaction with younger generations, by sharing their knowledge in the workplace, by making their voice heard in local government, or by volunteering.

Take a look at some of our previous blog articles about engaging seniors. 





Tip Sheet: Keeping Seniors Connected 

Rebecca Schein Gideon Y. Schein,
Rebecca R. Eddy
Gideon Y. Schein

Eddy & Schein
212. 987.1427


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