This Sunday, August 21, is National Senior Citizens Day. The annual holiday was authorized and requested by President Ronald Reagan in 1988, and designated in Congress by House Joint Resolution 138.
In President Reagan’s proclamation regarding the event, he said,
Throughout our history, older people have achieved much for our families, our communities, and our 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. [...] With improved health care and more years of productivity, older citizens are reinforcing their historical roles as leaders and as links with our patrimony and sense of purpose as individuals and as a Nation. [...] For all they have achieved throughout life and for all they continue to accomplish, we owe older citizens our thanks and a heartfelt salute.
In honor of National Senior Citizens Day, many organizations and businesses are commemorating the event in a variety of ways, such as inviting written submissions of stories relayed by seniors for publication in local newspapers. As an honored senior, some of the ways you can celebrate the day include:
- Attending local celebrations in parks and other community gathering areas,
- Taking classes and participating in other special events at your local community or senior center,
- Using discounts such as lowered admission prices to museums, zoos, and other exhibits,
- Grabbing a bite to eat at restaurants with special pricing on meals,
- Getting great shopping deals, such as the sale we’re having at firstSTREET now through Sunday night.
If you’re a member of the younger set, you can observe the holiday in a variety of ways, too. The National Senior Citizens Day sale at firstSTREET has no age restrictions! Your grandparent, parent, or other loved one might enjoy the Magnetic Clasps Set, which makes wearing jewelry easier, the Big Button Radio, which also connects to portable CD and MP3 players, or the Lighted Full Page Magnifier, which makes reading more enjoyable.
There are also other ways that you can celebrate the senior citizens in your life, or maybe even a stranger. National Senior Citizens Day reminds us that sometimes the best gift we can give to each other is our time and attention. Help someone out around their home with house cleaning, yard work, or other chores and errands. Visit a senior center, assisted-living facility, retirement home, or nursing home to play games or just to sit and talk.
According to a 2010 Volunteering in America report by the Corporation for National and Community Service, 9.1 million senior citizens have volunteered their time for various causes in the previous year. In Texas alone, more people aged 65-74 volunteered when compared to other age groups, according to the Department of Labor.
“At a time in their lives when the least sacrifice is expected, more and more seniors are giving their most,” said State Sen. Carlos I. Uresti of San Antonio, “and our communities are stronger and better off for their efforts.” Senior volunteerism is a global phenomenon, too, as evidenced by elderly in Japan who volunteered to work at the Fukushima nuclear plants to spare the younger generations from long-term health risks due to radiation after the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.
As President Reagan said in his original proclamation regarding National Senior Citizens Day, “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.”
Source: “Proclamation 5847 — National Senior Citizens Day, 1988,” by President Ronald Reagan, 08/19/88
Source: “Viewpoint: National Senior Citizens Day honors our elderly population,” San Antonio Express-News, 08/19/10
Source: “National Senior Citizens Day,” GenerationOn Kids Care Clubs