While many people may be aware that May is “Older Americans Month” – designated by President John F. Kennedy in 1963 – far fewer know that February also celebrates older Americans. On February 1, the nation will mark Senior Independence Month with the aim to support dignified and full lives for each senior member in our respective community.
Senior Independence Month has evolved over time and is particularly relevant in this century. In the past, we had multi-generational families where children and grandparents alike lived together or nearby for their entire lives. This way of life is becoming a quaint memory. This leaves many people stranded in times of need and current generations understand more clearly how essential it is to remain independent, strong, and healthy throughout our long lives.
We all will face a lot of obstacles as seniors in part because, according to National Today.com the world is aging rapidly. By 2050, there will be two billion senior citizens globally. Meanwhile, ageism is reportedly more pervasive, and people are more likely to be discriminated against for their age than they realize. Further, most countries reportedly are not senior-citizen friendly. This includes a scarcity of pensions, insurance, and supporting infrastructure for elders. Finally, many seniors suffer from chronic health problems like hypertension, chronic pain, and diabetes.
A simple way to support National Senior Independence Month is by helping a senior feel more independent. The article suggest that many towns and cities could be more senior citizen friendly. Some ways to become more senior friendly is by encouraging more investments in public spaces that are assessable by elevator, ramps, and rails. Seniors can keep their minds sharp by developing a new skill, participating in a new activity, or learning how to use a new technology especially with more tele-health options today. Taking time to work on a computer together could ultimately protect seniors from fraud, monitor their health, and help connect them with their loved ones.
As we prepare to celebrate National Senior Independence Month, one of the most impactful ways to support seniors is through building relationships. Here are three additional ways to connect with a senior, according to the article.
- Ask your local councilor about senior citizen-specific provisions in your area. If you see the need for improvements, mobilize the community and demand better provisions for the independence of the elderly.
- Meet your senior relatives
A great way to observe National Senior Independence Month is by visiting your senior relatives. Go on trips, watch a movie, and eat together during the month. It’s important to show elderly people that they are loved and cared for.
Volunteer at senior citizen centers, retirement homes, and nursing homes throughout National Senior Independence Month. Spending time with the elderly members of the community can be a very rewarding experience.