Most Americans celebrate “Mother’s Day” and “Father’s Day,” but few know the summer season hosts an equally-important honor that is inclusive of all aging folks. August 21st is “World Senior Citizen’s Day.” It was first declared by President Ronald Reagan in 1988 and is worthy of special consideration. After all, older citizens contribute much to their communities and nation, but their work often goes unnoticed.
Here’s how Americans can collectively show gratitude toward seniors while also working to improve their safety and quality of life!
In a society obsessed with youth culture, technology, and social trends, older people often get left on the sidelines. But truthfully, they helped build today’s world and continue to improve life for everyone in many ways. Sometimes a little bit of gratitude can go a long way.
There’s no rule that says only family members can thank elders for their contributions. Maybe an aging neighbor is a Korean War veteran. If so, wouldn’t it be nice to send him a card or small gift on Veterans Day? And that great high school teacher from thirty years ago could still live in the same town or neighborhood. Might it be nice if one of her formers students who’s now middle-aged himself reconnects and thanks her for having such a positive affect on his life?
It's important to remember how far gratitude can go. A simple “thank you” or acknowledgement can brighten a senior’s day. And while folks don’t need an excuse to honor older relatives and friends, “World Senior Citizen’s Day” is a perfect time to do so.
Some younger folks act differently around senior citizens. It’s usually not intentional, but it can come across the wrong way, nonetheless. People should remember to engage older folks just as they would with their younger counterparts. They should not be regarded as “feeble,” nor should they be treated as if they are juvenile children.
There’s no reason to ignore the older coffeehouse patron or neighbor on the bus. Why not engage them in conversation? Some of the most interesting people in the world are those who’ve lived long lives. It’s important to consider that everyone loses friends and family members as they get older, so elders are often lonely and appreciate a good conversation.
Does “Grandma” know how to sew or cook a traditional dish? Why not ask her to teach the young ones how to develop similar skills? Or maybe “Grandpa” was once an accomplished mechanic. Many younger people these days would love to learn how to change their own oil! Experience is sometimes worth more than gold, and aging loved ones have it in abundance.
While many people attempt to honor older relatives, some don’t realize that the best honor one can bestow is a vote of confidence. Most seniors are happy to share their lived wisdom and skillsets with younger generations. And isn’t that a win-win?
Many Americans today are committed to social improvement and volunteerism, which is wonderful. But it’s often hyper-focused on specific causes that don’t necessarily improve the lives of older people. As the saying goes, “One can walk and chew bubble gum at the same time.” With COVID-19 disproportionately affecting the elderly, now might be a good time for younger folks to diversify their altruism with a newfound focus on seniors.
Perhaps one can volunteer at the local VA hospital or help fundraise for veterans’ causes. Or maybe, a young adult takes an after-school job at a nearby senior living community. Even small gestures can make a difference.
If an older neighbor struggles to leave her home, it might be nice to pick up groceries or drive her around town to complete errands. And seniors living alone often face safety risks and other quality of life issues. So, couldn’t regular visits from a caring neighbor or family member promote both well-being and happiness for an otherwise-forgotten senior?
America faces a crisis that often flies under the radar. Millions of Baby Boomers are now seniors, but they are increasingly living alone without assistance from younger family members. Unfortunately, those who are home-bound and physically or cognitively vulnerable face very real dangers.
An aging person who lives alone is at high risk for household emergencies, such as fires and carbon monoxide poisoning. She’s also more likely to succumb to the effects of extreme temperatures during summer and winter months. Finally, a home-bound senior may not receive prompt medical attention when suffering a medical emergency, such as stroke, cardiac arrest, or a trip-and-fall accident.
Once again, regular visits from caring family and friends can help mitigate these risks. Visitors can casually observe the household environment and address the dangers, such as throw rugs that contribute to falls or smoke detectors with dead batteries. But they can also take even more proactive measures as discussed below.
In addition to regularly visiting vulnerable seniors, loved ones and friends should also secure safety-focused technologies on their behalf. And personal emergency response solutions (PERS) are one of the most effective and affordable tools. PERS offerings, including LifeFone, typically consist of pendants that hang from the neck or can be worn as a bracelet. They are complete with a button that, when pushed, alerts emergency responders.
While PERS is often thought of in the context of accidental falls, the technology has far more applications and has become very sophisticated in recent years. The button can be activated for a variety of other emergencies too. And LifeFone, specifically, has taken PERS even further.
LifeFone’s pendant can passively alert responders to a fall even if the button isn’t pushed. And on-the-go solutions allow seniors to leave their homes to explore town or nature with a continued safety net thanks to mobile technology. Finally, LifeFone even offers medication reminders, burglar alarms, and fire/carbon monoxide alerts. All these services can be obtained from one provider at affordable rates and complete with phone app technology for relatives and friends who want to monitor their loved one’s status remotely!
Most Americans stay busy and can only dedicate themselves to so many causes. But plenty of younger folks interact with older people on a regular basis, whether they’re neighbors, family, or friends. And despite best intentions, it’s easy to forget that the elderly population is often lonely, neglected, and vulnerable. Fortunately, “World Senior Citizen’s Day” is a perfect opportunity to show these folks gratitude while also searching for ways to improve their quality of life.
If you’re seeking affordable technology to improve the safety and quality of life for an aging loved one or friend, be sure to call LifeFone today for a free consultation!