The History of National Senior Citizens Day

Posted by Meghan Orner on August 15, 2016

The History of National Senior Citizens Day

“Throughout our history, older people have achieved much for our families, our communities, and our country.” – President Ronald Reagan, Proclamation 5847

Every year on August 21, we celebrate National Senior Citizens Day, but do you know how this day of celebrating seniors came about? Just like any other holiday, it can be easy to forget the original meaning behind it. We’ve done some research and have not only discovered the history behind National Senior Citizens Day, but we also found some activities for Senior Citizens Day that you can enjoy this year.

A Quick History Lesson

“For all they have achieved throughout life and for all they continue to accomplish, we owe older citizens our thanks and a heartfelt salute.” – President Ronald Reagan

On August 19, 1988, President Ronald Reagan made a Presidential Proclamation designating August 21 as National Senior Citizens Day to recognize the contributions of seniors to our country. In his speech to the nation,  he laid out all the reasons we should celebrate older Americans--after all, he was talking about the generation that endured the Great Depression, both World Wars and went on to practically build the American economy. Sounds like a good cause for celebration!

“Many older people are embarking on second careers,” said President Reagan. “Giving younger Americans a fine example of responsibility, resourcefulness, competence, and determination.”

There’s no denying that senior citizens have contributed many great things throughout our nation’s history and continue to blaze a path for the rest of us everyday.  Seniors continue to make age-defying achievements, from space travel to politics, setting positive examples for all those younger generations who look up to them.

Recognizing National Senior Citizens Day is the perfect way to celebrate these contributions and remind seniors that they are an important and vital part of our country.

August 21, however, isn’t the only day on your calendar that celebrates senior citizens. International Day for Older Persons happens on October 1st and was organized by the United Nations to draw more attention to the importance of supporting seniors worldwide.

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Activities for Senior Citizens Day

“I call upon the people of the United States to observe this day with appropriate ceremonies and activities.” – President Ronald Reagan

With National Senior Citizens Day just around the corner, you may be wondering how you can celebrate with your loved ones. While this national holiday often goes overlooked by many, if we start to create family traditions now, there is hope that National Senior Citizens Day can have even more meaning in the future.

Here are some activities for Senior Citizens Day that will make any senior in your life feel special:

Quality Time With Loved Ones

The best way to celebrate is by spending time with your loved ones. Pick an activity for the entire family to enjoy together, like having a picnic or creating a family memoir book. No matter what activity you choose, take the opportunity to enjoy each other’s company for the day.

If you live far away from your aging loved ones and are unable to do these activities, give them a call so they know that you are thinking of them.

Give Back

Local and national nonprofits dedicated to serving seniors are always looking for volunteers to help them carry out their mission. If you’re looking for ways to give back to the generation that has already given us so much, check with your local Department of Aging Care to learn about upcoming events.

Small Acts of Big Kindness

Do you see a senior struggling with the groceries? Help them carry the shopping bags to their car. Do you have an elderly neighbor? Take them out for a meal at their favorite restaurant. These small things will go a long way in promoting a senior’s health and safety.

Honoring Independent Seniors

With the rate of senior citizens growing exponentially thanks to the Baby Boomers, seniors in America have become more independent than any generation before them. Nearly 10,000 Baby Boomers celebrate a 65th birthday everyday, and according to recent estimates, the senior population is going to represent 20 percent of the overall population by 2030.

Medical Guardian is proud to support the millions of Americans who have forged a path for the rest of us by helping them to remain independent in their own homes for as long as possible. Learn more about how medical alert devices can actually help you maintain your independence as you age, or view our full suite of products to find out which one is best for you.


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