By JEAN JONES
ONE FEATHER EDITOR
Since 1963, May has been designated as Older Americans Month. This year’s theme is Unleash the Power of Age. May is the month in which we appreciate and celebrate the strength and the contributions of our elders to their families, friends, and neighbors.
Deb West, Tsali Manor manager, commented, “Back in 1963, President JFK (John F. Kennedy) served as a prelude to designating May as ‘Senior Citizens Month.’ In 1980, President Jimmy Carter designated what was called ‘Senior Citizens Month’ to ‘Older American’s Month.’ On down to the state level America was asked to acknowledge and honor the Elders in some way. As our Tribal Elders are our most respected teachers, mentors and one of our most precious resources, in 2005 Tsali Manor staff asked Chief Michelle Hicks to declare May Older American’s month on Indian Land. Thus is his Proclamation.”
The 9th Annual Elder’s Walk will be held on Friday, May 17 at 11am at the entrance to the old elementary school. On Thursday, May 23, Tsali Manor will host the 22nd Annual Senior Celebration. Approximately 600 seniors from the Western North Carolina area are expected, asserts West.
Bobbi Sneed, local elder, stated, “I look forward to the [Elder’s] Walk. We always do the walk for when we get together and, of course, then the [Senior] celebration. We’ll celebrate with everybody and have a good time doing it.”
“I look forward to just being with people here at the center because we have good fellowship,” said Flora Bradley, local elder. “We do a lot of interesting things, and it’s just good being with other people your age.”
“It’s just a time when you slow down, take a look at the world,” Nell Crowe, local elder, sharing her thoughts on becoming elderly, “and then you plan your life around the aches and pains that you have. And we do have them.”
She continued, “Stay as young as you can and enjoy everything that you could possibly enjoy because you have to slow down. I love my age. So you need to put your life around not just older people. Get out with kids, teenagers. If you can, get out with little ones too.”
Ned Smith, local elder, shared his thoughts on his future plans. He began, “We, I say we, we all need to do more for ourselves. Keep ourselves up. Keep going.” He is recovering yet from surgery in February. He added, “I know me and my wife here, I kept her for 60 years, and I’m waiting on 60 more. “
Manager Deb West, concluded, “Our compassionate and caring staff serve our elders daily and hope that we make life just a little bit better by the end of day.”