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Show respect and care for our seniors Print
Editorial
Written by Mary Uhler   
Thursday, May. 28, 2015 -- 12:00 AM

May is a busy month filled with many special occasions and observances, from Mother’s Day to Memorial Day — and many graduations inbetween.

Since the 13th century, the Catholic Church has dedicated the month of May to Mary, our Blessed Mother. In May of 2002, St. John Paul II said, “In accord with a long-standing tradition of devotion, parishes and families continue to make the month of May a ‘Marian’ month, celebrating it with many devout liturgical, catechetical, and pastoral initiatives.”

Since Mary is the mother to all of us, I’m sure she would encourage us to cherish all members of our families, especially those in their later years of life.

Older Americans Month

That’s why it may be fitting that May is also observed as Older Americans Month. I learned that this observance was established in 1963 in the United States.

At that time, only 17 million living Americans had reached their 65th birthday. About a third of older Americans lived in poverty and there were few programs to meet their needs.

But interest in older Americans and their concerns was growing. A meeting in April 1963 between President John F. Kennedy and members of the National Council of Senior Citizens led to designating May as Senior Citizens Month, the prelude to Older Americans Month.

Historically, Older Americans Month has been a time to acknowledge the contributions of past and current older persons to our country, in particular those who defended our country.

Every president since Kennedy has issued a formal proclamation during or before the month of May asking that the entire nation pay tribute in some way to older persons in their communities. Older Americans Month is celebrated across the country through ceremonies, events, fairs, and other such activities.

All Saints Neighborhood

It was appropriate, then, that Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Madison held a groundbreaking ceremony in May for an expansion of its All Saints Neighborhood.

Located on the west wide of Madison, All Saints Neighborhood is a senior living community. It was created for people of all faiths, but it reflects Catholic Charities’ values of respect, dignity, caring, and compassion.

All Saints includes independent senior apartments as well as an assisted living and memory care facility. Its expansion plans will create All Saints Neighborhood Main Street, offering expanded living options, a new chapel, a wellness center, and other opportunities for seniors to worship, socialize, exercise, and engage in lifelong learning.

Inspiring place to call home

The buildings in All Saints Neighborhood provide a beautiful place for our seniors to live. I’m very familiar with All Saints, because my mother-in-law has lived there for over four years. It has been a wonderful home for her.

As it says on the All Saints website (www.allsaintsneighborhood.org), “The beauty of the buildings is just part of this secure and compassionate neighborhood that meets your social and spiritual needs in a setting reflecting Catholic values. We have put our faith in action so that mature Catholics and all aging persons in our community would have a place they can be proud to call home.”

The nine-acre All Saints Neighborhood for people age 55+ was built as a residence, a place of worship, a place to build friendships, and a place to find relaxation and comfort.

“Regardless of where you live in the All Saints Neighborhood, you’ll find spirited senior living, a warm welcome, and strong sense of community,” it says on the All Saints website. From what I’ve experienced, this is very true.

Care for seniors all year

Although May is designated as Older Americans Month, we should care about the lives of our senior citizens throughout the year. Catholic Charities does this at All Saints and through other services for older persons.

We should remember our cherished seniors in our own families, neighborhoods, and parishes, too. They deserve our respect and our loving care.

 
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