National Senior Citizens Day was proclaimed by President Ronald Reagen in 1988. Proclamation 5847 began with this: “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 this year to reserve a special day in honor of the senior citizens who mean so much to our land.” It became a Day on the national calendar of special days. Interestingly, I read that some people consider August 14th to be “senior citizens day.” Why? Because August 14, 1935 was the day that President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Social Security Act! The preamble stated that The Social Security Act (Act of August 14, 1935) [H. R. 7260] was “An act to provide for the general welfare by establishing a system of Federal old-age benefits, and by enabling the several States to make more adequate provision for aged persons, blind persons, dependent and crippled children, maternal and child welfare, public health, and the administration of their unemployment compensation laws; to establish a Social Security Board; to raise revenue; and for other purposes.”
Social Security is of course 70 years old this year, and national senior citizens day is now 27. Whether old or young, people have many opportunities to do something that can honor and show appreciation of the seniors in their communities and families. And not just on August 21st. Did you ever consider interviewing someone about some aspect of their life that you never knew about? Talk to a person and you may learn fascinating things about their experiences in their jobs, volunteer work, military service or their wildest vacation or adventure. Asking a person about their life not only gives them the chance to relive those adventures but helps to show that their life matters.Ask your grandparents about the world they grew up with, and do some research to see what shows up online about their great-grandparents. I’ve found lists of people and occupations from the villages my great-great grandparents came from, showing that the occupation of my grandparents in New Jersey (they were butchers) had a very long family history.
More ideas: talk to your aging parents about the lifestyle they want in old age and how you can help them plan for it. Write to your legislators to urge them to maintain programs for the needy elderly and to make those programs easier to attain. Help someone who you see in the store who appears confused or disoriented. Just reach out!
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