The elderly population of the world is huge and expected to just keep on growing. By 2025, experts estimate that there will be over one billion people over 65. Because of their experience, expertise, and dedication to life, these people deserve to be recognized for the achievements. Luckily, August 21 is Senior Citizens Day, a national holiday intended to honor and show appreciation for the older adults in our lives.
Founded by President Ronald Reagan in 1988, this holiday celebrates the 40.3 million senior citizens that live in the United States. Many of these seniors are still active and independent, with 28 percent of people over 65 still living on their own and 16.2 percent still maintaining jobs. Older people carry with them the wisdom and knowledge that takes a lifetime to learn, so it is important not to simply push them to the side after they reach a certain age. There are many different ways to celebrate Senior Citizens Day; here are just a few ideas to get you started on planning your own unique observance.
1. Spend time with elderly loved ones
This is perhaps the most obvious yet most overlooked idea. Daily life is busy, meaning you might not always have time to spend with your family members. They might live out of the way or even in another state. However, visiting your elderly loved ones is essential to their mental health and well-being. Senior isolation increases the risk of poor health, cognitive decline, dementia, and early mortality. Therefore, make it a point to spend some time with your loved ones today. Plan a surprise visit, take them out for a day on the town, or even just stay in and reminisce over a cup of tea. It will make their day!
2. Visit local area nursing homes
Not all seniors are lucky enough to have caring family members nearby. Some have no family nearby to come visit them; other are shipped off to nursing and retirement homes without a second thought and never receive a visit or phone call from the people that put them there. Visiting a local nursing home or assisted living community like Cedar Hill can seriously brighten a senior’s day and positively impact their health. They may feel lost and forgotten, but having someone come by to talk and listen to them makes them feel valuable and cared about once more. To make the day even more special, pass out some homemade cookies or other gift.
3. Take advantage of discounts
There’s a lot of good things about being a senior, but one of the most important things are the discounts! Many businesses offer special savings just for older adults. A lot of these discounts are unadvertised, so seniors are encouraged to ask about them whenever they go to a store to buy something. Keep an eye out for “senior days” at local businesses, and remember to use your AARP card to qualify for special deals.
4. Start a family history project
Your elderly family members probably have a lot of knowledge about your family history, so why not use that knowledge to learn more about yourself? Start a family history project with them! Interview your senior loved one about their memories and experiences to gain a greater insight about their lives. It’s a great way to keep busy while spending time with them. Have them tell you stories you might not know about their parents and grandparents. Go through old photos and create a memory book that can be passed down through the generations.
5. Volunteer for projects that benefit elderly
There are many different things you can do in your community to help out seniors. Become a companion for seniors in your neighborhood and schedule weekly visits to check up on them. There are also programs that help seniors run errands they can no longer do themselves, such as picking up groceries or medication. Check with the local Meals on Wheels headquarters in your area, as they may need help delivering or preparing meals. Lastly, many libraries and community centers host events just for seniors – see if they need any help organizing their next outing!
6. Host a party or luncheon to celebrate
Show your elderly loved one you really care with a party that’s all about them! Having a party in their honor makes them feel special and valuable and can do wonders for their self-esteem. Invite all of their friends and family. You can even turn it into a festival of sorts if you have several people you wish to honor. Prepare their favorite foods, play their favorite music, bake them a cake, and make the entire day about them.