Q:  Mr. Pedometer, how do you come up with all these “National Month of…” designations? 

A: Online research gives you lots of answers!  For example, did you know that May is “Older Americans Month”?  That began in 1963 with President John F. Kennedy, who designated “Senior Citizens’ Month.” The name was changed by President Jimmy Carter in 1980, but the idea remains the same, to celebrate those of us ages 65 and older as being “productive, active, and influential members of society.”

This year’s slogan is “Engage at Every Age,” acknowledging lots of research that indicates people are healthier (and happier) if they stay involved with family, friends, and community.

The latest year we could find statistics for was 2013.  That year, for Older Americans Month, they announced that there were 41.4 million people ages 65 and older in the USA as of July 1, 2011, up from 40.3 million the year before.

By 2060, they were projecting that there would be 92 million people here ages 65 and older – or just over 1 in 5 USA residents at that time.  Of those, 2.4 million would be “baby boomers,” the youngest at age 96!

In 2013, only 8 percent of the world population was age 65 or older; by 2050, it was projected to be nearly 17 percent.

 Americans are working longer:  In 1990, only 12.1 percent of those over 65 were in the labor force. By 2011, that number had increased to 16.2 percent.  That year, there were 3.6 million seniors living in poverty  (8.7%).

Surprisingly, in 2012, only 81.1% of those Americans 65 and older had completed high school, and only 24.3% had earned a bachelor’s degree or higher from college. Only 70.3% reported casting a ballot in the 2008 presidential election.

That same year, 80.7% of householders 65 and older owned their own homes.  58% were married, and 26% were widowed.  In the 2010 census, there were 53,364 Americans who were age 100…or older! (For every 100 centenarian women, there were 20.7 centenarian men.)

You may be among those who live a very long life.  That’s all the more reason why you should….