COLUMBIA, Mo. – The city of Columbia has designated the month of May as Older Americans Month — a fitting recognition of the insights and contributions older adults bring to society during a pandemic that has disproportionately affected this vulnerable population globally, said Jack Wax, advisory council chair for the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Mizzou.

“If ever there was a time when we need to reaffirm our commitment to older people, it is now,” Wax said.

The proclamation, issued earlier this year by Mayor Brian Treece, follows the national observance led by the Administration for Community Living, with its 2020 theme of “Make Your Mark.” The theme was selected to encourage and celebrate the countless contributions that older adults make to our communities, Wax said.

Originally, the proclamation was to be celebrated May 28 at Osher’s annual membership meeting and volunteer appreciation luncheon. Though an online ceremony is in the works for a different date, Osher and city leaders hope the proclamation will inspire the Columbia community to reflect on the many gifts older adults contribute and to encourage older adults to continue to explore new and meaningful ways to share those gifts. As an article in the mayor’s proclamation states, “…in the process of gaining insight and understanding, older adults can develop a set of mental and emotional strengths, generally known as ‘Wisdom,’ a much needed trait in today's world….”

“I love this article. Osher students and instructors share their wisdom, voices and experiences every time an Osher class meets, whether it’s in person at the Moss Building or online, as it is now,” said Jennifer Erickson, Osher senior coordinator. “Sincere thanks are due to the city of Columbia for honoring older adults during the month of May for the valuable contributions they provide throughout the year.”

Osher@Missouri serves more than 650 mid-Missouri residents ages 50-plus each year through classes in the arts, culture, literature, science, current events, politics and more, all for the joy of connecting engaged learners, who are among one of the most vulnerable populations affected by the COVID-19 crisis. Osher staff and MU Extension leadership worked to bring Osher spring semester classes online. Osher is hosting 16 four- and eight-week sessions over Zoom. A four-week online summer semester is on track to start mid-June. Details and registration will be posted at