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Court proclaims May 'Older Americans Month'

By Judith Pannebaker BCC Editor

By a proclamation on Thursday, May 14, Bandera County Commissioners adopted May as Older Americans Month in Bandera County. Judge Richard Evans quipped, "As time goes by, this is becoming more important to me."
Rose Ryan, director of aging for the Alamo Area Councils of Government (AACOG), offered the court an overview of the services available to "seasoned citizens" through federal programs and grants. "We're here to help residents who need assistance," Ryan said, "and work with [the court] to see all residents receive the services they're entitled to."
Not only does AACOG assist with the Silver Sage Community Center's Meals on Wheels program, but also provides ombudsman services to seniors in nursing homes and rehabilitation centers. "We also work with veterans of all ages and their families and widows, as well as with the Veterans Service Officers programs," Ryan said.
She also noted that this year marked the 50th anniversary of the Older Americans Act. Congress passed the act in 1965 in response to policymakers' concerns about a lack of community social services for older persons. The original legislation established authority for grants to individual states for community planning and social services, research and development projects and personnel training in the field of aging.
Although AACOG had provided a proclamation of its own, Evans told Ryan that Bandera County had created its own. Information in the proclamation revealed that over 25 percent of the county's population is aged 60 and above. However, after reaching retirement age, senior citizens remain active longer than ever before. Described as among the county's "most treasured resources," Bandera County's older adults offer "wisdom and insight" to the community by drawing on their historical experiences.
"Our community can provide recognition and respect to older adults and improve their quality of life by increasing their opportunities to remain active and engaged in community life; providing individualized services and support systems to maintain their dignity, independence and self-determination as they age; and combating ageism attitudes by honoring their past, present and future contributions."
Clearly impressed with the proclamation, Ryan said, "That was much better than ours. I might want to borrow Bandera County's proclamation for next year."
Also impressed, inveterate court watcher Tom Bregel spontaneously announced, "I move that we accept." And, after a more formal motion was made and seconded, the court did just that.