The theme this year is “Age Out Loud.” In 1965, President Johnson signed the Older American Act into law. This Act was created to fund critical services that keep older adults healthy and independent — services like meals, job training, senior centers, caregiver support, transportation, health promotion, benefits enrollment, and more.

In 2016, nearly five years after it expired, legislation to reauthorize the Act was passed by Congress with unanimous, bipartisan support. The bill was signed into law by President Obama as the 2016 OAA Act Reauthorization, which reauthorizes these programs from the year 2017 through 2019. It includes provisions that aim to protect vulnerable elders by strengthening the Long-Term Care Ombudsman program and elder abuse screening and prevention efforts. It also promotes the delivery of evidence-based programs, such as falls prevention and chronic disease self-management programs.

This year’s Age Out Loud theme provides an opportunity to shine a light on many important issues and trends. More than ever before, older Americans are working longer, trying new things, and engaging in their communities. They’re taking charge, striving for wellness, focusing on independence, and advocating for themselves and others. They expect to continue to live their lives to the fullest and they’re insisting on changes that make that possible. What it means to age has changed, and OAM 2017 is a perfect opportunity to recognize and celebrate what getting older looks like today.