Senior Citizen’s Day will be celebrated across the globe this August 21, 2020. This worldwide holiday was formed by the United Nations in 1990, although it was officially created on a national level in the United States by President Ronald Reagan in 1988.
Nationally, the idea behind the holiday is to recognize the contributions that seniors make to their communities. On a world level, the holiday raises “awareness of the condition of older people and to support them throughout the aging process:, according to Wikipedia.
“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.”President Ronald Reagan
How Will You Celebrate Senior Citizen’s Day?
Now – especially when we are in the midst of a pandemic – many senior citizens are isolated and lonely. Did you know that, while living alone is great for self empowerment, it comes with the risk of health issues that can go unnoticed (and therefore, undiagnosed)?
There is a greater risk of depression, which can contribute to the person not wanting to get treatment for serious health issues, such as diabetes or heart disease. In addition, being alone and lonely can mean that it takes longer to get help for cognitive impairments, such as dementia or Alzheimer’s.
A wonderful way to remember and acknowledge the seniors in your life is to get in touch with them. For many, that phone call or cheerful letter from you will brighten an otherwise boring day. You don’t even have to have a long conversation (although I am sure that Grandma would love it if you did!). A study by British researchers showed that something as quick as a social exchange with a barista increased feelings of belonging.
The pandemic has made it more difficult, but you can still celebrate Senior Citizen’s Day by:
- Giving your senior loved one a call (even better – video chat with them if they are tech-savvy).
- If you live nearby, have a porch picnic with the senior – pick up sandwiches or other foods, then sit with them on the porch or deck or meet in a park – any outside area can let you keep socially distant while still enjoying each other’s company.
After the pandemic has become a distant bad memory, you can continue to honor and celebrate a senior by:
- Start a memory book with the person. Ask them questions about their childhood and early life, then write them down and add them to a “blank book”. You can put in photos, as well.
- Help them record their memories for future generations – you can even do this by simply using your phone. Start a YouTube channel for the senior, then upload their video records for easy access by other family members.
- Sit with the senior and organize old photos and put them into a photobook (or make one online).
The point is to interact with your senior loved one – starting today and continuing through the year. You’ll make their lives that much richer and more meaningful!