In 1988, President Ronald Regan declared August 21st to be Senior Citizens Day. At that time, he was the oldest person to be elected president. He highlighted the accomplishments of senior citizens -- as leaders, taking on second careers, and becoming volunteers. Regan’s hope was that the declaration of Senior Citizens Day would encourage the whole country to make sure all communities were places that people could grow older with dignity and proper support and services.
August 21 was first celebrated as World Senior Citizens Day in 1991. This day deserves an honored place in everyone’s holiday calendar. With the American population aging, that includes more of us than some would like to admit!
“Some 78 million people 65 years and older will live in America by 2035, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, surpassing the number of the country's population under the age of 18 (76.7 million) for the first time in U.S. history.” Forbes
Now that we have a little bit of background on Senior Citizens Day, what is the best way to celebrate it? The holiday is meant to draw attention to the contributions senior citizens make to local communities as well as the world at large. A wonderful way that younger folks can celebrate the day is to spend time with the seniors in their lives. If your parents or grandparents live close to you, invite them over and make a special meal.
For those that live far away, make a point to call them and tell them how much they mean to you. If possible, plan a longer trip to visit them. Loneliness is a big struggle for many older people, so make whatever effort you can to let them know you love them and value their place in your life.
If you haven’t yet started creating a family history, Senior Citizens Day is a great time to start. Talk to your older relatives about their life and take notes or record them. Recording your family history is a wonderful way to bond and will help you to understand your relatives and the experiences that shaped them. It can also help you understand how larger events, like the Great Depression, World War II, and the upheavals of the 1960s, affected individuals and what it was like to live through those events.
Not everyone is fortunate enough to have their parents or grandparents with them to celebrate with. In that case, contact a local senior living facility and ask about visiting the people who live there. You can get your kids, other family members, and friends to make cards to give out. You can also practice a selection of songs to perform. You might find that you enjoy these activities so much that you want to make it a regular practice, not just on World Senior Citizens Day.
Another way to honor senior citizens is by looking into volunteering with organizations that serve them. Maybe your local chapter of Meals on Wheels needs help prepping or delivering meals. The local senior center might need teachers for a class or people to drive seniors to appointments or run errands.
Senior citizens themselves can also get in on the planning and celebration of the meaning of Senior Citizens Day. Throw a party with friends and reminisce about your lives. Pull out old school year books and photos and tell stories. Go out to eat and enjoy senior citizens discounts at your favorite restaurant. You’ve lived a lot of life -- celebrate all that you’ve accomplished.
Senior citizens and their families might also talk over ways they can raise money for organizations that focus on the needs of seniors. If you’re not currently involved with any, do an Internet search to find some that work in your community. Call and ask what their needs are. Depending on the answer, organize your family and friends to do fundraisers. Facebook and other social media channels can help you organize and get the word out to more people. It will also help raise awareness about what Senior Citizens Day is.
We hope this gets you excited about celebrating World Senior Citizens Day. As always, feel free to subscribe to our newsletter if you found this on social media and get back to living your best life!