Today we celebrate Senior Citizens Day and a heartfelt thank you goes out to all of the older adults who have shared their love, wisdom and guidance with each person they meet. President Ronald Reagan proclaimed August 21 as a day to recognize America’s older population saying, “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.”

According to the 2010 U.S. Census, over 40 million adults are classified as senior citizens (over the age of 65). So today, there are over 40 million reasons to celebrate! How can you celebrate the older citizens in your life and your community on this day?

The most obvious, but oftentimes the most forgotten, way to celebrate is to spend time with the older adults in your life – grandparents, great grandparents, great aunts and uncles. Here are some ideas to consider in order to Make A Difference® in their lives:

  • Place a call: We pick up the phone every day to tend to work and personal matters, but it is often easy to forget calling your relatives, especially the older adults that we can feel disconnected from. Take five minutes to call your grandparents, great grandparents, great aunts and uncles, etc., just to say, “Hello!” and see how they are doing! These five minutes will bring a smile to their faces that will last hours beyond the end of the conversation.
  • Make a visit: If you have the luxury of living near your relatives, stop by to visit with them. Share and engage with them as these are treasured moments that will not last forever.
  • Plan an activity: Age should not be a deterrent to being active. Invite your relatives for a walk or to accompany you to something as simple as grocery shopping. A stroll around the park or the grocery aisles will keep them engaged and active.
  • Say “Thank you”: A simple thank you speaks volumes! Show your appreciation for the role they have played in your life and your loved ones.

Don’t forget seniors who live in assisted living, long-term care or nursing home facilities! Consider spending a few hours of your day visiting seniors in these facilities or collecting donations to support their needs.

The greatest thing about celebrating this day is that you are not only making a difference in the lives of older adults, but also in your own. Take advantage of the wisdom and experience they can provide to better yourself. Thank you to all the older adults who have done so much for our communities!