Older adults are a vital part of our community. Since 1963, communities across the country have shown their gratitude by celebrating Older Americans Month each May. The theme of this year’s celebration is “Get into the Act,” to focus on how older adults are taking charge of their health, getting engaged in their communities, and making a positive impact in the lives of others.

The theme also reflects on the 50th anniversary of the Older Americans Act. Former U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Older Americans Act into law in July 1965. Since that time, the Act has provided a nationwide aging services network and funding that helps older adults live with dignity and remain independent for as long as possible. These services include home-delivered and congregate meals, transportation, caregiver support, community-based assistance, preventive health services, elder abuse prevention, and much more.

By promoting and engaging in activity, wellness, and inclusivity, more Americans than ever before can “Get into the Act.” While the Mineral County Senior Services Program (also known as the Care & Share) provides nutrition, transportation and advocacy services to adults 60 years of age and older (and their caregivers) year-round, Older Americans Month offers us an opportunity to emphasize how our seniors can access the home- and community-based services they need to live independently in our own communities of Mineral County and to promote various activities and events for our seniors.

The “Get into the Act” theme also provides an opportunity to promote volunteerism throughout our communities in support of our older Americans. Volunteers provide services to our seniors – services that either they or their caregivers are unable to perform themselves. Volunteers provide companionship; assistance with such tasks as yard work, grocery shopping, homemaking, etc.; transportation and educational or social activities for the elderly. Remember that many of our local senior citizens are confined to their homes for health reasons. These seniors, in particular, are in greater need of someone to volunteer an hour or so each week to provide assistance or simply to socialize and provide human companionship. Because the Senior Services Program has minimal paid staff we need volunteers to provide additional services to our senior citizens! Everyone has something to offer – even if you can give only an hour a week – you can make a difference in the life of an elderly person.

Throughout the coming weeks and months, the Senior Services Program will be providing more detailed information on the services we provide to our seniors and how services can be accessed within Mineral County (including Mina, Luning and Walker Lake). In the meantime, if you have any questions about our program services, eligibility criteria or how you can help “Get into the Act” by volunteering, please contact either Cherrie George (Program Director) or Laticha Mitchell (Senior Services Specialist) at 775-945-5519 or stop by the Senior Center at 975 ‘K’ Street in Hawthorne, Monday thru Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mina and Luning residents can also contact Vicki Altman (Site Manager) at 775-573-2344 or in person at the Senior Center at 211 8th Street, Tuesday thru Thursday from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.