Of course, we all value and appreciate the seniors in our lives every day – but who doesn’t love a little extra gratitude now and then? On National Senior Citizens Day, we take a moment each year to celebrate the unique gifts that our residents bring to each community and make them such vibrant places to live. If you’re looking for ways to honor that special senior in your life, here are five ideas to get you started:
- Plant an indoor garden: Since most seniors tend to spend a good amount of time indoors, why not bring the outside in with a simple planter placed in the kitchen or living room? Succulents are a great, low-maintenance option to consider: they thrive on very little water and don’t require a lot of trimming or fussing over to stay healthy.
- Record their memories: All you need is an iPhone and a few hours’ visit to give both your loved one and yourself a precious and irreplaceable gift. Taking time to relive treasured memories is so necessary and valuable to seniors, for a number of reasons. There’s the obvious issue of short-term memory deficits that often frustrate the aging population; how relaxing instead to be able to settle into fond recollections that come easily and bring smiles. And of course seniors have lost loved ones they miss – so what a welcome opportunity it is to be able to connect with those people and share stories. At the end of a few hours, you’ve not only given Dad the gift of remembering, but you walk away with a precious record of experiences to treasure and share with other family members.
- Bring a visitor: If you have kids who owe Grandpa a visit or a well-behaved pooch that could handle an assisted living community, plan a visit with a companion. Bringing a grandchild to play a simple card game or even toss a Nerf ball back and forth is a welcome diversion and such an easy visit to orchestrate. And bringing a pet in to visit Mom can brighten her day and be a nice break for the whole community! If Mom lives alone and can manage it, bring the dog along and take a walk together.
- Share a meal together: Seems like a no-brainer, but it’s amazing how much time we can let pass without getting something simple like this on the calendar. If you’re one of the sandwich generations and feeling a bit overwhelmed with your own kids, plan something basic and manageable that everyone can help with. Organize a spaghetti supper at home with paper plates and store-bought cupcakes for dessert, for example. Or if Dad can’t come to you, bring takeout lunch over some weekend from his favorite diner. The meal itself doesn’t have to rely on you!
- Donate to a senior center: There can be no better way to honor the lives of our seniors than to donate gently used items to a local community. Senior centers are normally municipally funded and tight on cash, so they love receiving donations of books, VHS tapes, DVDs, games, and puzzles. Check out the Senior Center Directory to find one near you.
Do you have any ideas that have worked in the past? Tell us in comments!