Older adults are a growing and increasingly vital part of our country. The contributions they make to our communities are varied, deeply rooted, and include influential roles in the nation’s economy, politics, and the arts.

From 69-year-old NASA Administrator Charles Bolden, Jr. to 84-year-old actress Rita Moreno to 83-year-old Ruth Bader Ginsberg, who took her seat as a Supreme Court Justice at age 60, older adults are blazing trails in all aspects of American life.

In 1963, we began to acknowledge the contributions of older people by using the month of May to celebrate Older Americans Month (OAM). Led by the Administration for Community Living, the annual observance offers the opportunity to learn about, support, and celebrate our nation’s older citizens.

This year’s theme, “Blaze a Trail,” emphasizes the ways older adults are reinventing themselves through new work and new passions, engaging their communities, and blazing a trail of positive impact on the lives of people of all ages.

While the Bluegrass Area Agency on Aging and Independent Living provides nutrition programs, Ombudsman services, evidence-based health and wellness programs, caregiver services, and other vital services to older adults year-round, the organization will use OAM 2016 to focus on how older adults in our community are leading and inspiring others, how we can support and learn from them, and how we might follow their examples to blaze trails of our own.

BGAAAIL encourages seniors to get involved by sharing stories with younger people, volunteering in your local area, or attending an event at your local Senior Center.

For more information on OAM, visit http://acl.gov/olderamericansmonth. To learn more about BGAAAIL contact Lydia Jacobs at 859-269-8021 or at ljacobs@bgadd.org. Connect with the organization on its Facebook page or at www.bgaaail.com. Or call the Area Agency on Aging at 1-800- 677-1116.