August 21 is looming, and we are ready to celebrate National Senior Citizens Day. At our communities in the Kaplan Development Group family we look at this as an opportunity to celebrate the wisdom and achievements senior citizens have made during their lives, as well as an opportunity to advocate for the rights of older people throughout the world.
When we think about Senior Citizens Day, we often think about our own parents who strive daily to model themselves as terrific role models for our children. We think about our mom who helped out and enjoyed taking care of the kids as we left home for the working world. We think about our dad who was strong father figure for our kids. He may have helped teach our son about fly fishing and hiking, answering questions about life and love as only another man can. He may have showed our daughter’s what a true gentleman acts like and helped them recognize they were deserving of nothing less. As we hear over and over, it takes a village and we are so thankful to have the opportunity to serve elders that have had such an impact on the generations.
We also think about our grandparents; whom we spent time with growing up and learned so much from, many of the same lessons which were imparted to our children by our parents. When we see senior citizens today, one should pause to wonder how they feel about their legacy and about all the stories in their hearts that they want and need to share, imparting wisdom on today’s generation.
Engaging Your Family Legacy on Senior Citizens Day
Some of our favorite things to do with our parents had visible benefits for them as they honed and built their legacy, as well as allowing an opportunity to enjoy intergenerational contact. Here’s a list of 3 easy things you can do with your loved ones:
- Spend Time with Family. Research has shown that being in the presence of a friend or a hug from a family member can help raise cortisol levels, which in turn will reduce stress. Eye contact helps create connection and touch reduces stress, increases happiness levels and helps our elders know they are loved. It doesn’t have to be a lot of time, even something as simple as coffee in the morning. Most important is the quality of your time together; not necessarily the quantity.
- Watch movies, play games and record family history moments with your senior loved ones.Establishing a practice that can be shared with all generations creates an opportunity for families to share some of their favorite activities with one another. Many of us loved playing games with our parents and grandparents as it promoted fun. Take the opportunity of asking questions about their life and your family as it helped as it will allow you to experience moments of joy and appreciation for all they have been through and seen in life.
- Practice random acts of kindness with your senior loved ones.Visit and talk with your loved ones especially when they’re not expecting it. Drop by their home or assisted living community for a meal and conversation. Bring a deck of cards. Take them out for a surprise lunch at a favorite restaurant or take them to a local attraction or movie, even their favorite museum for a new exhibit.
In honor of National Senior Citizens Day, start a new tradition and keep it going all year long. Your families will be stronger and happier for it.