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Exhibit celebrates Older Americans Month

May is Older Americans Month — a tradition established in 1963 to honor the legacies and ongoing contributions of older Americans.
Rowan Public Library is joining communities nationwide in celebrating with a special exhibit throughout May. This year’s theme is “Never too old to play,” encouraging older Americans to stay engaged, active and involved in their own lives and in their communities.
Participating in this exhibit are three Rowan County organizations:
• Rufty-Holmes Senior Center, North Carolina’s first “Senior Center of Excellence” and the first senior center in N.C. fully accredited by the National Institute of Senior Centers. Rufty-Holmes is a community focal point for aging resources. The center promotes increased involvement of older adults in volunteering and civic engagement, a healthier and more active citizenry, life enrichment and improved physical, mental and emotional health of older Rowan County residents.
• AARP Salisbury-Rowan Chapter 4314, a non-profit civic/service organization for people 50 years and older who desire to become involved in local volunteer activities, bring about positive change and work toward making the community a better place to live. The chapter meetings promote fellowship and social interaction, provide a forum for members to discuss local, state and national issues, and presents programs that inform and educate members about healthcare, nutrition, economic security, consumer protection, safety concerns, and more. Rowan County residents who are 50 years and older are encouraged to join the chapter.
• Rowan County Council on Aging, whose key objectives are to establish a local network of advocates that can address local, state and national issues affecting older adults; develop programs and methods for educating local older adults about emerging issues; recruit and nominate qualified older adults for seats on local, regional, and state committees, boards and commissions to represent older adult needs; conduct ongoing assessments of community sensitivity to older adult needs; recognize those individuals and groups in the community who contribute to a “senior friendly community.” The Council on Aging encourages Rowan seniors to look for the “Senior-Friendly Business” certification signs at local businesses.
When Older Americans Month was first established in 1963, there were only 17 million living Americans age 65 and older. Today, those over age 65 number about 40 million, with 10,000 turning age 65 each day as the “baby boomer” generation matures. This trend will continue over the next 19 years.
According to the 2010 Census, Rowan County has 19,993 citizens age 65+. This is a 31.4 percent increase in this age group over the 2000 Census. The Rowan County population as a whole only increased 6.2 percent over this 10-year period by contrast.
Americans can volunteer with programs that improve life for seniors, including access to health services, food and nutrition services, financial and housing counseling, social activities and community engagement. The organizations that participated in the Older Americans Month exhibit at the library are examples of where people can join in and support volunteer programs that address the needs of older Americans.
For more information about Rufty-Holmes Senior Center, AARP Salisbury-Rowan Chapter 4314 and Rowan County Council on Aging, call 704-216-7714.

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