It was 1988, when, through Proclamation 5847, Ronald Reagan deemed August 21st the day America would celebrate seniors. Over 30 years later, as older people live longer, healthier, and more productive, the cause for celebration is more appropriate than ever.
Reagan intended National Senior Citizens Day to be a time to give back to older adults who have positively impacted our lives, values, the community, and society.
“Throughout our history, older people have achieved much for our families, communities, and country. That remains true today and gives us ample reason to reserve a special day in honor of the senior citizens who mean so much to our land,” Reagan proclaimed. “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 — 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.”
Four Ways to Make National Senior Citizens Day Special
- Have a conversation. Hop on the phone or Skype and have a conversation with your loved one. By simply taking the time to sit down and have a real conversation with your loved one can mean the world. So many of our interactions with loved ones become centered around logistics and planning, it can be easy to forget to simply ask how someone is doing. During this time, when isolation is prevalent, it could mean the world to them.
- Start a family history project. The seniors in our lives all have fascinating stories to tell, but most of them have never written anything down. Start a family history project by having them share their life experiences, while you transcribe or simply record on your phone conversation.
- Create a photo album. The older we get, the more we treasure our memories. Put all of your loved one’s memories in one place by creating a memory photo album. Fill it with photos from throughout their life.
- Cook them a special meal. Nothing beats a home-cooked meal. If your loved one lives close by, whip up one of your loved one’s favorite dishes and deliver the special feast to their home.
Senior Moments in History. Did you know?
- Sophocles was 89 when he wrote Oedipus at Colonus, one of his dramatic masterpieces.
- On the day of his death, at the age of 78, Galileo was said to be planning a new kind of clock that would tell time—in minutes and seconds, not just hours—using a pendulum swing instead of movement of water or sand.
- Isaac Newton, better known for his scientific achievements, became a scourge of counterfeiters as the Warden of the Royal Mint, a position he held until his death in his mid-80s.
- Benjamin Franklin retired from public service when he was 82.
- Benjamin Disraeli was 70 when he became prime minister of England for the second time.
- Susan B. Anthony was past 80 when she formed the International Woman Suffrage Alliance.
- Henrik Ibsen was 71 when he wrote his last play When We Dead Awaken.
- Mary Baker Eddy was 86 when she founded the Christian Science Monitor newspaper.
- Alexander Graham Bell was 75 when he received a patent for his work on a hydrofoil boat.
- Sarah Bernhardt was 78 when she acted in her last stage performance—La Gloire by Maurice Rostand.
- Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. was reading Plato in Greek at 92.
- Ignace Paderewski was 79 when he retired from playing the piano in concerts.
- George Bernard Shaw was working on his last play, Why She Would Not, when he was 94.
- Grandma Moses received her last commission as an artist when she was 99.
In honor of National Senior Citizens Day, you can also send them a free digital greeting card to let them know you’re thinking of them!
Join us in celebrating National Senior Citizens Day! Our mission at the Council on Aging of Central Oregon is to improve the lives of older adults, especially those who are struggling. If you or anyone 60+ needs help, call (541) 678-5483.