For the first time in three years, Celebrating Seniors Week is back all throughout Oak Park, River Forest and Forest Park.

And, no, we’re not talking about high school or college seniors — but those men and women whose graduations occurred over 40 years ago, with some attaining those milestones as much as twice that long ago.

The local nonprofit organization that has organized Celebrating Seniors Week each May starting in 2011, is the Celebrating Seniors Coalition. We are everyday citizens, representatives of social service agencies and local units of government, and private industry leaders serving older adults. We have always scheduled this week of educational and entertaining activities to coincide with Older Americans Month, a national initiative of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Community Living.

Our objective is to dispel outdated and inaccurate myths about what it is to be a senior in our society. Just like their younger peers, men and women over 60 years old are vibrant and valuable to the life of our community. In addition to raising awareness of older adults’ continued value and impact, the Celebrating Seniors Coalition raises money for some older adults in financial need — for example, those people whose circumstances might slip through the cracks of traditional social safety nets.

This year, from Thursday, May 12 through Thursday, May 19, there will be over 30 events — nearly all free of charge — throughout Oak Park, River Forest and Forest Park under the Celebrating Seniors banner.

Our marquee event is the inaugural Celebrating Seniors Scavenger Hunt on Saturday, May 14, which will bring together people of all ages as they search for the answers to clues provided on a map. Covering over 60 cultural, civic, architectural and historical gems, those clues correspond to points that are labeled throughout a one-square-mile area of north Oak Park.

We invite everyone from the community to join in the fun on that day, and to attend as many of the other events as possible. You can find more details, including how to register for the scavenger hunt as well as other events, at CelebratingSeniors.net.

Jim Flanagan
River Forest

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