Engage at Every Age: Older Americans Month 2018

May 11, 2018

By Chris Herman, MSW, LICSW
Senior Practice Associate–Aging, NASW

May 11, 2018

NASW is celebrating Older Americans Month (OAM) in May. Established in 1963 and coordinated by the Administration for Community Living (ACL), OAM celebrates the role of older adults within our communities. The 2018 theme, Engage at Every Age, emphasizes that people of all ages can take part in activities that enrich their emotional, mental, and physical  health and well-being. ACL offers OAM 2018 materials, activity ideas, and resources to enhance your OAM celebration.

The Older Americans Act (OAA) helps older adults to engage in their communities and to maintain and improve dignity, health, and independence. Services funded through the OAA include case management, elder abuse prevention, family caregiver supports, nutrition programs, transportation, and in-home assistance. Yet, the OAA has been underfunded for many years. In partnership with the Leadership Council of Aging Organizations and other groups, NASW has advocated consistently for OAA funding. Thanks to this persistence, funding for some OAA programs was increased or held steady for fiscal year (FY) 2018. Send an e-mail to your members of Congress to underscore the importance of funding for the OAA and other aging programs.

The workforce also plays an integral role in enabling older adults to maintain well-being and to engage in their communities. Join NASW in supporting two pieces of legislation:

NASW is also celebrating OAM 2018 by preparing for the 2018 NASW National Conference, Shaping Tomorrow Together. The conference, which will take place on June 20 through 23 in Washington, DC, features a preconference workshop on reframing communication about elder abuse and a breakout session on the Hartford–NASW Supervisory Leaders in Aging initiative. Other breakout sessions include the following topics as they relate to aging: HIV/AIDS, Medicare, trauma, social isolation, the Supplemental Security Income program, dementia-friendly communities, and civic engagement and brain health.

NASW welcomes input about how you are observing OAM 2018 in your community. #OAM18

NASW resources related to OAM

Aging practice tools, resources, and other information

Standards, guidelines, and indicators—including publications addressing health, case management, cultural competence, family caregiving, technology, and other topics

Revised NASW Code of Ethics and on-demand national training

Continuing education (CE): 2018 NASW National Conference, Shaping Tomorrow Together; other national-level CE programs; chapter-level CE programs

Aging Specialty Practice Section: benefits include newsletters and free Webinars

Advanced practice specialty credentials in gerontological social work, case management, health, and other areas

NASW Press eBooks and other publications, including updated editions of Foundations of Social Work in the Field of Aging: A Competency-Based Approach and Social Work Speaks: National Association of Social Workers Policy Statements

Hartford–NASW Supervisory Leaders in Aging initiative

The Social Work Career Center

Find a Social Worker—free, online databases for consumers

Updated flyer of NASW resources related to aging

Related initiatives in which NASW participates

CARF International Advisory Council

Center for Advancing Holocaust Survivor Care Review Committee

Center for Excellence in Assisted Living Advisory Council

Coalition for Quality in Geriatric Surgery

Coalition to Preserve Rehabilitation

Eldercare Workforce Alliance

Friends of the National Institute on Aging


Jimmo Implementation Council

Leadership Council of Aging Organizations

National Center on Elder Abuse Advisory Board

National Coalition on Mental Health and Aging

Reframing Elder Abuse Stakeholder Advisory Committee (convened by National Center on Elder Abuse and the FrameWorks Institute)

Other resources related to OAM and aging

Administration for Community Living and Administration on Aging

Association for Gerontology Education in Social Work

Benefits CheckUp®

Council on Social Work Education Gero-Ed Center

Eldercare Locator

National Institute on Aging information on health and aging

National Nursing Home Social Work Network

Profile of Older Americans and U.S. Census Bureau statistics for OAM 2018

U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging