Older Americans Week marked

Thursday, May 22, 2014
Piggott Mayor Gerald Morris (front-center) signs the proclamation for Older Americans Month during the ceremony held Monday at the Piggott Community Center. Those on hand included, from left: Parks and Recreation Director Shannon Williams, Randy Mikel of the PRC, senior center director Morgan Mikel, State Rep. Joe Jett, Erma Campbell with the PRC, EAAAA county case manager Amber Risner, EAAAA office coordinator Vicky Pankey and RN for EAAAA, Candi Holcomb. (TD photo/Tim Blair)

A special ceremony was held Monday, May 19, at the Piggott Community Center as Mayor Gerald Morris signed a proclamation for Older American's Month. The signing ceremony was held in the senior center of the local community center, and was an effort of East Arkansas Area Agency on Aging. Those on hand for the occasion included Morris, State Representative Joe Jett, EAAAA staff and patrons and staff of the senior center.

"Older adults have made countless contributions and sacrifices to ensure a better life for future generations," noted EAAAA county case manager Amber Risner. "Since 1963, communities across the country have shown their gratitude by celebrating Older Americans Month each May. This celebration recognizes older Americans for their contributions and demonstrates our nation's commitment to helping them stay healthy and active."

This year's theme for Older Americans Month is "Safe Today, Healthy Tomorrow."

"The theme focuses on injury prevention and safety to encourage older adults to protect themselves, and remain active and independent for as long as possible," added Candi Holcomb, RN, with EAAAA.

Experts note unintentional injuries to the elderly population result in at least 6 million medically treated injuries, and more than 30,000 deaths every year. With an emphasis on safety during Older Americans Month, the EAAAA is encouraging older adults to learn about the variety of ways they can avoid the leading causes of injuries--such as falls.

Noting that he too qualifies as a senior citizen, Mayor Morris signed the proclamation. It noted the value of injury prevention and safety awareness, and implored, "every resident to take time this month to recognize older adults, and the people who serve and support them, as powerful and vital individuals who greatly contribute to the community."

Patrons of the senior center also took a moment to offer thanks to Rep. Jett, who recently acquired funding which was used to make needed purchases for the center. "It was my pleasure, any time I can be of any service I encourage you to call me," he explained. "I do make it a point to return my calls, so anytime you need me just get in touch."

Morris also praised State Senator Robert Thompson of Paragould for his continued support of the local senior center and his efforts to obtain funding as well.

Congress passed the Older Americans Act (OAA) in 1965 in response to concerns by policymakers about a lack of community social services for older persons. The original legislation established authority for grants to be made to state for community planning and social services, research and development projects and personnel training in the field of aging. The law also established the Administration on Aging (AoA) to administer the newly created program and serve as the focal point on matters concerning older persons.

The OAA authorizes a wide array of serving programs through a national network of 56 state agencies on aging, 629 area agencies on aging, nearly 20,000 service providers, 244 Tribal organizations and two native Hawaiian organizations representing 400 tribes.

The OAA also includes community service employment for low-income older Americans, training, research and demonstration activities in the field of aging and vulnerable elder rights protection activities.

Those wanting more information on the programs offered at the BRAD Senior Center of the Piggott Community Center may contact site manager Morgan Mikel at 598-3993. Those wanting more information on the EAAAA may call the Piggott office at 598-2939 or toll free at 1-800-467-3278.

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