WEST WINDSOR, N.J. -Mercer County Executive Brian M. Hughes, officials of the County Office of Aging, and members of the County Council on Aging gathered today to celebrate Older Americans Month at Grandparents Grove in Mercer County Park.
The County followed the federal government's declaration of May as "Older Americans Month" and Hughes said it was important to recognize the role of older residents throughout Mercer's 13 municipalities.
"We have a duty, an obligation, and a desire as a community to acknowledge everything that the generation before us has accomplished, and what they continue to accomplish," said Hughes, surrounded by senior citizens who attended the ceremony with picturesque Lake Mercer shimmering behind Grandparents Grove.
"As you look around the County, you can see the contributions of our older residents, whether they are in teaching, in business for themselves, in volunteering, or as caretakers of family members," he added. "There are about 45,000 people over age 65 in Mercer County, and today we honor each of them."
Hughes and several members of the community who interact with the County's older population on a daily basis also read a proclamation by the County Executive officially declaring this month Older Americans Month. The other participants were: Eileen Doremus, Executive Director of the Mercer County Office on Aging; Jacques Lebel, Chairperson of the Mercer County Council on Aging and Chairperson of the Mercer County Community College Advisory Commission on Aging; Marc Celentana, Deputy Director of the Mercer County Department of Human Services; Robert Ecroyd, Administrator of the Mercer County Geriatric Center; Martha Nielsen, Supervisor of Information and Referral, Outreach, and Care Management of the Mercer County Department of Human Services; and Shirley Roberts, Community Health Coordinator for Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Hamilton.
"Older Americans Month gives the Office on Aging an opportunity to showcase the contributions of Mercer County's older Americans as together we build these strong, healthy, and supporting communities," Doremus said, echoing this year's commemorative theme, "Working Together for Strong, Healthy, and Supporting Communities."
The Mercer County Office on Aging provides oversight and seeks funding for programs and support services for older residents and their caregivers. These services include nutrition programs, health promotion and disease prevention, recreation services, and transportation, among others. The Office on Aging is supported by the advice of the Council on Aging, a group of volunteers from County municipalities who inform the Office on Aging about the needs of older residents and help guide the development of programs.