Older Americans Month - May 2003
In honor of the contributions of older Americans to society, May is recognized as Older Americans Month. This year's theme is "What We Do Makes a Difference." Record numbers of Americans, age 55 and over, are making a difference by volunteering their time to help those in need. A 1999 survey showed more than 26 million older volunteers gave 5.6 billion hours of service, by delivering meals to the home-bound, mentoring at-risk children, and providing financial and legal counseling to the elderly and their caregivers. Studies show Americans are living longer and healthier lives, so the knowledge and experience older volunteers can offer their communities will continue to increase. As Older Americans Month is celebrated around the country, GovBenefits.gov is highlighting some of the benefit programs available to enrich the lives of older Americans.

Older Americans Act
For close to 40 years, the Administration on Aging (AoA) has provided home and community-based services to millions of older persons through the programs funded under the Older Americans Act. Such programs include home-delivered meals programs and nutrition services in congregate settings, transportation, adult day care, legal assistance and health promotion programs. Additionally, Ombudsmen in nursing homes are providing an on-going presence in long-term care facilities, monitoring care and conditions and providing a voice for those who are unable to speak for themselves. The National Family Caregiver Support Program provides a variety of services to help people who are caring for family members who are chronically ill or who have disabilities. To find local services, or more information about Older Americans Month, visit www.aoa.gov. Visit www.eldercare.gov for additional local resources.

The Corporation for National and Community Service administers Senior Corps. Senior Corps is a network of programs that tap the experience, skills, and talents of older citizens to meet community challenges through its three programs:

  • Foster Grandparent Program
    The Foster Grandparent Program provides grants to qualified agencies and organizations for the dual purpose of engaging persons 60 or older, with limited incomes, in volunteer service to meet critical community needs. For more information visit www.govbenefits.gov/govbenefits/benefits/report.jhtml?bid=878

  • Senior Companion Program
    The Senior Companion Program provides grants to qualified agencies and organizations. Program funds are used to support Senior Companions in providing supportive, individualized services to help adults with special needs in order to maintain their independence. For more information visit www.govbenefits.gov/govbenefits/benefits/report.jhtml?bid=877

  • Retired and Senior Volunteer Program
    The Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) provides grants to qualified agencies and organizations for the dual purpose of engaging persons 55 and older in volunteer service to meet critical community needs. For more information visit www.govbenefits.gov/govbenefits/benefits/report.jhtml?bid=884