This Wednesday (Aug. 21) is National Senior Citizens Day, a day to celebrate the life of our elderly loved ones and acknowledge their accomplishments. The day was declared exactly 25 years ago by former U.S. President Ronald Reagan in 1988.
“For all they have achieved throughout life and for all they continue to accomplish, we owe older citizens our thanks and a heartfelt salute. We can best demonstrate our gratitude and esteem by making sure that our communities are good places in which to mature and grow older – places in which older people can participate to the fullest and can find the encouragement, acceptance, assistance, and services they need to continue to lead lives of independence and dignity,” the 40th U.S. president said in his proclamation.
Take some time out of your day to express your love and appreciation for our senior citizens. Here are a few suggestions:
- One of the best things you can do for someone is giving them your time. Take your elderly love one out for brunch or to see a play. Go to the park or the botanical gardens. Get some fresh air and enjoy each other’s company.
Volunteer at a local nursing home or veteran’s home. It can get lonely for people who aren’t living with their family. A simple visit can make a difference in the spirits and health of these residents.
Ensure safety. If your elderly loved one is living alone, it’d be a good idea to check if their home is safe. Make sure that all lighting fixtures are working and that door handles or grab bars aren’t loose. If your loved one experiences bladder control problems, make sure that they have a full supply of incontinence supplies. Throw out any expired medication, and clean up any clutter to reduce the risks of falls.
- “Back in my day…” Many elderly people love to talk about their life – ask your loved one to share their life stories and accomplishments. Ask them about their mentors, their mistakes, what they’ve learned throughout the years, and the best advice they’ve been given.
Phone a friend. Although your daily life may be hectic, take a break to call your loved one and ask them how they’re doing. Let them know that you appreciate them.
- Gather the whole family and have everyone share a favorite memory of the elderly individual. Make a scrapbook and include drawings and photos. This will surely brighten your loved one’s day.