In 1988, National Senior Citizen Day was created to honor those in older generations and the impact they have on their communities, families and society as a whole. Over the years, this occasion has also been used to raise awareness for mental health treatment services, chronic or degenerative illness care, access to cost-effective medical insurance, and other issues that affect seniors’ quality of life.
This year, in particular, it’s more crucial than ever to lean into this awareness and rally around the senior citizens in your life who might need extra love and attention. A recent study published in the International Psychogeriatrics Journal found that many older adults have experienced an increase in anger, depression, loneliness, confusion, bereavement, anxiety and even post-traumatic stress during COVID-19—especially those with Alzheimer’s or dementia. It’s undoubtedly an uncertain and difficult time, but here are some ways to coax a smile to the face of someone you love on National Senior Citizen Day.
Host a Multi-Generation Family Zoom Call.
It’s a major source of comfort and security to senior adults when they feel valued by their children, grandchildren and younger relatives. Under normal circumstances, life is hectic and people can forget to call. However, with the recent increase in free time, now is the ideal opportunity to coordinate a multi-generational Zoom chat to reconnect with everyone and show the seniors in your life how cherished they are by each member of the family. Even if the conversation is brief, it will be appreciated.
Prepare and Enjoy a Meal Together Safely.
Social events look different than they used to, but if you follow the precautions issued by the CDC, an intimate dinner or cookout is the perfect way to spend time with your loved one. Prepare a favorite meal together—if it’s safe to do so—then break out the special occasion dishware and light some candles to set the ambiance. Or head out to the backyard with a picnic blanket for a more casual spread.
Leave a Meaningful Gift on their Doorstep.
Whether it’s a batch of homemade muffins or a bouquet of their favorite roses, surprise your loved one with a heartfelt token of your gratitude for all the contributions they make. You could even include a handwritten note with the gift to further communicate just how important they are in your life. During a time when many older adults have to limit in-person interactions out of concern for their health, a gift on their doorstep is a safe and thoughtful way to express how much you care.
Offer to Help with Decisions on Healthcare.
As they continue to grow older, many seniors find it uncomfortable, overwhelming and stressful to talk about their healthcare options. From Medicare insurance coverage, assisted living facilities, to treatments and medications, there is so much to consider. One practical gesture you can extend to the senior in your life is to help them sort through all the details in order to make informed healthcare decisions.
With so much stress and uncertainty in the world, hopefully you will have the opportunity to take time to celebrate the older generations this August 21.