August 21st is National Senior Citizens Day
August 21 is National Senior Citizens Day. This national day of recognition of our country’s older citizens began in 1988 when President Ronald Reagan signed Proclamation 5847, expressing recognition and gratitude for our older population and their contribution to the United States. In the Proclamation, President Reagan stated that “[f]or 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 Proclamation reserved August 21 of each year as a day to honor our senior citizens.
The words, sentiment and objective of this Proclamation remain as important as ever today. Our nation has a significant population of elderly citizens, who have contributed so much to the workplace, economy, their communities, families and our nation as a whole. They deserve respect and appreciation for their contributions and they deserve protection and care so that they can live out their later years with dignity.
The best way to honor this special day is to show senior citizens they are loved, cared for and remembered. If you’re able to visit senior citizens in your life in a safe way, your time is often the best gift that can be given. Arrange a videochat or make a telephone call to those you cannot visit in person. Send a card or gift that shows you are thinking of them and value them.
Unfortunately, many senior citizens may not have many people in their lives to express care and gratitude and it’s important to take opportunities to let these individuals know they are valued and respected as well. While social distancing and restrictions because of the COVID-19 pandemic limit certain opportunities to volunteer or visit with senior citizens who reside in nursing homes or assisted living facilities, there are still ways you can brighten someone’s day and help them live a more comfortable life. Meals on Wheels is a great opportunity to help numerous senior citizens and others to get a good meal. In fact, the COVID-19 pandemic has made programs like Meals on Wheels more important than ever. With less contact with family members or others who may have usually been available to assist with providing seniors meals, there’s been more demand than ever for Meals on Wheels. Check with your local Meals on Wheel program to learn how you can get involved and help in a safe and socially distanced way.
You can also send caring notes and letters to seniors through programs like Letters for the Elderly. Be sure to check with the organization to ensure you are following all guidelines to keep recipients safe so they can enjoy getting some friendly mail. Check with nursing homes in your area to see if they are offering ways that you can safely spread cheer to elderly residents.
Finally, National Senior Citizens Day can be safely celebrated through donations to organizations that serve elderly populations, either locally or nationwide. Now, more than ever, our senior citizens can use extra assistance to make sure they are staying safe and healthy, both mentally and physically, and that they are not being taken advantage of financially or otherwise. Visit the National Council on Aging’s website for a broad range of information on issues that affect seniors, how you can get involved and where you can donate.