On August 21, we commemorate National Senior Citizens Day and at Sharecare, our hearts are turned towards the growing population of older adults in America. With estimates projecting 1 in 5 people in the U.S. will be over the age of 65 by 2030, it’s easy to see why older adults are a growing priority across healthcare and for organizations like us.
Today and every day, we hold the opportunity to cherish and show appreciation for the older adults in our lives, as well as to honor our own experience of aging. It’s in this spirit that Sharecare created the “AgeLess” video series, which features conversations that destigmatize and humanize aging, with practical tips and inspiration from guests – like the sage wisdom of our 91-year-old friend and Oscar Award-winning actress, Rita Moreno.
While reflecting on today’s holiday, we hope you feel compelled to “share care” with your older loved ones. There are many ways to celebrate National Senior Citizens Day; here are just a few ideas to get you started:
- Spend Time Visiting
This is perhaps the most obvious yet most overlooked idea. Daily life is busy, meaning you might not always have time to just spend with your family members chatting. Make it a point to set aside some time with your loved ones, it can be as simple as a phone call, video call, or chatting over a cup of tea. It will make their day!
- Invite Them to Teach You Something New
Does your dad have a talent for crossword puzzles? Can your great-aunt make a wonderful chicken soup? Is your grandmom a savvy knitter? Invite the older adults in your life to teach you something new. They’ll enjoy passing on the skill set and spending quality time with you.
- Take Them Out Using Their Senior Discount
It’s not unusual for older adults to spend less time eating out or enjoying activities outside their homes because it’s harder for them to get out on their own. You can help boost their social interaction by taking them out. Keep an eye out for “senior days” at local businesses and remember to use your/their AARP card to qualify for special deals and keep the cost down.
- Reminisce Over Photographs or Travel Journals
Walking down memory lane can be a fun and meaningful activity. You can learn more about their life experiences and reminisce over your shared moments together. Not only can this activity help strengthen relationships but can also be beneficial for memory health and mental stimulation.
- Encourage Them to Share Their History with You
If your older loved one doesn’t have a journal or written history, you can help them create one. An easy place to start is recording their stories on your phone or recording device, asking about their childhood, coming of age, and family memories. You can also start or add to a family tree project with names, anecdotes, and stories.
- Help Them with Chores and Errands
For many older adults, household tasks can be a challenge. It might be outdoor activities such as weeding the garden or hanging/refilling the bird feeder or indoor activities including moving the furniture or replacing a light bulb. You can also take them out on errands they can no longer do themselves, such as visiting the farmers market or even preparing a special meal that’s become too difficult to do on their own.
- Set-Up In-home Caregiving Support
In-home support can be a gift in more ways than one – it can also be covered by insurance. This can be a great time to set up help for your loved one with regular chores and errands when you can’t be there. CareLinx by Sharecare can help with small tasks, like having someone do light housekeeping, grocery shopping, or driving to a doctor’s appointment. If and when they need additional help around the house or personal care, you can expand support to address their changing needs.
- Go Out to a Community Activity
There are many different things you can do in your community for little to no cost. Check out your local parks for concerts, lectures, or bingo nights. Libraries, churches, and community centers often host events just for seniors that might be a great fit too. Getting out of the house can support social connections and create wonderful memories. If leaving the house isn’t an option, AARP and many other organizations also offer online activities.