President John F. Kennedy’s meeting with the National Council of Senior Citizens served as a prelude to designating May as “Senior Citizens Month” in 1963. President Jimmy Carter’s 1980 designation led to the annual observance being renamed Older Americans Month, but the Administration on Aging (AoA) says every president since Kennedy has issued a formal proclamation during or before the month of May asking that the entire nation pay tribute in some way to older persons in their communities. As the video above from the AoA demonstrates, there are numerous events and activities around the country in honor of Older Americans Month.
According to the AoA, Florida has the highest proportion of people age 65 and over with 17 percent, although the proportion is over 30 percent in several counties. Older Americans Month arrives one month after Judge James O. Shelfer of the Second Judicial Circuit in Tallahassee refused to dismiss a lawsuit filed by Florida’s former long-term care ombudsman against the state and a pair of nursing-home and assisted-living trade organizations. According to the Orlando Sentinel, Brian Lee was known as an “aggressive watchdog” and his ombudsman program led a force of more than 400 volunteers who investigated complaints by long-term care residents. When Judge Shelfer allowed his case to proceed to the discovery phase, Lee told the Sentinel, “Now we’re going to expose the underbelly of the long-term care industry and reveal its greedy owners, gushing profits and gutted regulatory oversight.”
Nursing home abuse and neglect remains a huge issue not only in Florida, but across the nation. The AoA’s National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA) estimates that as few as 1 in 6 cases of elder abuse come to the attention of authorities, saying, “Elder abuse is an under recognized problem with devastating and even life threatening consequences.” In honor of Older Americans Month, we will talk about why you should care about this issue and some of the steps you can take to prevent elder abuse.
Wooten Kimbrough, P.A. – Orlando personal injury lawyers