August 21st is World Senior Citizen’s Day. Ronald Reagan created the day and the United Nations adopted it in 1990. According to the Presidency Project, Reagan intended the day to be about appreciating our seniors and focusing on raising their standard of living. He wanted our communities to be, “places where older people can participate as much as possible and find the encouragement, acceptance, support and services they need to continue living a life of independence and dignity.” Does that inspire you to celebrate World Senior Citizen’s Day? Here are some ways that you can celebrate.
Spend Time with Seniors
The most valuable thing you can give to a senior is your time. For many seniors, loneliness and depression cause actual physical problems. According to research, this might include a poorly performing immune system, chronic inflammation, high blood pressure, obesity and more. Those who are lonely at any age are more likely to suffer premature death. Spending time with seniors is one way to protect their mental and physical health.
What can you do with seniors on World Senior Citizen’s Day, especially this year? Here are some ideas:
- Have a porch party: Bring drinks to stay hydrated and remain socially distanced.
- Go for a walk: Be sure that the trail or area you choose has shade and benches.
- Play a game: If you can’t be there in person, schedule some time to play an online game together. Scrabble and Scribblio are good options for those who aren’t too tech savvy.
Create Community Resources
Loneliness isn’t just caused by a lack of familial or friend connections. Older adults may turn down social opportunities for physical or mental reasons, out of fear of being robbed, a lack of transportation, or neglected surroundings. Community resources can help seniors overcome these challenges, feel safer, and connect with people. You might consider creating these resources in your own community:
- Community Watch: Reduce the likelihood of crime and you’ll make the seniors in your community feel comfortable and safe with a community watch.
- Litter Cleaning Team: Neighborhoods with litter problems feel less comfortable to many seniors. Cleaning up can help bring seniors out of their shells.
- Senior Food Bank: Seniors often can’t head out to the local food bank. If you can bring the food to them you can be sure they have access to it.
Record a Senior’s Life Story
Another way to show appreciation for the seniors in your life is to investigate their accomplishments and what they have experienced throughout their life. Interview a senior and get their life story. Write it down or turn it into a video recording to share with other people. Future generations who may not have an opportunity to get to know this generation will be appreciative of the effort!
Donate to Senior Organizations
Are there existing senior resources in your community? World Senior Citizen’s Day is a great opportunity to help those organizations that support seniors. If you can’t give financially, consider giving your time instead.