In 1963, President John F. Kennedy designated May as Senior Citizens Month and in 1980, President Jimmy Carter re-designated this month as Older American Month. Since then, we have established a tradition of celebrating the lives and legacies of Americans who are 65 and older. When established in 1963, only 17 million living Americans had reached 65 years of age and around one-third of those individuals lived in poverty due to a lack of targeted assistance.
Today, however, the future of older Americans is on a new trajectory. According to the Administration of Aging, the United States' senior population is expected to reach 71.5 million by 2030. Not only are Americans living longer, but they also continue to actively participate in their communities. This year's theme of "Never Too Old to Play," reminds us all of the active lifestyles older Americans can, should, and do still engage in after their 65th birthday. Their contributions have made a profound impact on our nation's history and they continue to make a positive difference in our communities today through programs such as the Senior Corps.
As we celebrate and reflect on the lives and contributions of older Americans let us not forget those who are still in need of our support. We can help provide a good quality of life and healthier future for our seniors by upholding our commitments to Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. That is why I have continually opposed cuts to Social Security, efforts to raise the retirement age, and attempts to end Medicare and Medicaid as we know it. I also proudly voted for the Affordable Care Act, which offers free preventive services for seniors on Medicare and makes prescription drugs more affordable thanks to the elimination of the 'donut hole.'
During this year's Older American Month, I encourage all to reach out to the older men or women in your community to show your appreciation for their continued contributions to our great nation. While we celebrate their ongoing commitments, let us also recommit ourselves to protecting the services they rely on for a secure and healthy future.