Why is the luncheon held in May?
Older Americans Month was established due to the growing interest in older Americans and their concerns. So in April 1963, President John F. Kennedy met with National Council of “Senior Citizens Month”. In 1980, President Jimmy Carter changed the designation to “Older Americans Month”. This is a time to acknowledge the contributions of past and current older persons in our country. Every president since JFK has issued a formal proclamation during the month of May. Since the Centenarians are our most senior and esteemed group, the luncheon is held in May to pay tribute to their greatness and legacy.
Starting in September, the Committee plans for the next luncheon. Speakers, performers, volunteers and dignitaries are contacted to see if they will participate.
The Social Security Administration starts their computer search through all their Maryland records to identify the eligible candidates to honor at the upcoming recognition.
Planning continues and the formal letters are mailed in January inviting Maryland Centenarians to the luncheon in May. Centenarians come to the luncheon for free.
Final details are wrapped up from February to April and tickets are mailed to the honorees. This is also the time that guests are able to purchase tickets as well.
If Centenarians are unable to attend, their family member can arrange for a certificate to be sent to the honoree.
The Governor has declared the 2nd Thursday in May, Maryland’s Centenarians Day. The Centenarians, family, friends, caregivers and community participants convene at Martin’s West in Baltimore County for the celebration complete with a sit down luncheon, tributes, gifts, flowers, a 100 Honoree pin, and dignitaries to pay tribute to Maryland’s treasure trove of living history.
This program is geared towards the Centenarians, their caregivers and family members. Eligible members are contacted by the Social Security Administration each year. All eligible members who reach the age of 100, or who will reach the age of 100 by December of the calendar year when the luncheon is held are eligible. Residents of assisted living, nursing homes, adult day care facilities, and senior group homes, who meet the age requirements and reside in the State of Maryland, are invited to participate. Other residents of these facilities can attend the luncheon as well with a supervising adult.
We welcome support from the Area Agencies on Aging, news media and others who may have resources to support the state wide recognition each year. All are welcome.