September is the beginning of the fall season and when many students return to school. But it is also the month to celebrate older adults. With Grandparents Day on September 10 and Respect for the Aged Day on September 18, both days are an opportunity to honor older adults who have shaped our communities with their wisdom and lifelong contributions.
To help celebrate elders within your family and community, the United Disabilities Services Foundation (UDS Foundation), a nonprofit serving older adults, has several suggestions for empowering seniors in your life. Grandparents Day and Respect for the Aged Day are vital reminders of the daily challenges many older adults face daily, including isolation, loneliness, and limited mobility. Here are five ways you can help raise awareness, make a meaningful impact, and enrich the lives of aging adults, including veterans and adults living with disabilities.
- Spend Quality Time
Devoting quality time to older family members is a powerful act of kindness. But it’s more than just being physically present; it’s also about being emotionally present. When you listen to their stories, you’re not just hearing words; you’re connecting with their history, experiences, and wisdom. Engaging in activities that bring joy and connection can create lasting memories. Gardening, board games, or cooking and baking are all great ways to connect with a senior in your life. It’s an opportunity to bridge generational gaps, learn from their life lessons, and strengthen the bonds that tie your family together.
Volunteering at senior living communities is a positive way to extend kindness to a broader group of older adults. Loneliness can be a significant issue for seniors, especially those living in such communities. You become a beacon of hope and support by offering your time and companionship. Joining activities like art classes or game nights isn’t just about entertainment; it’s about providing a sense of belonging. The conversations you share can be lifelines, combating many seniors’ isolation. You may find that volunteering adds to your life as much as it adds to the lives of the seniors you serve.
- Spread Awareness
In the digital age, spreading awareness has always been challenging. By sharing information about observances like Grandparents Day and Respect for the Aged Day on social media, you’re contributing to a larger movement of empathy and understanding. Your posts can educate your friends, family, and followers about the challenges older adults may encounter, like healthcare access, social isolation, or the importance of intergenerational connections. By raising awareness, you’re igniting a spark in others to take action and make a positive change in the lives of seniors.
- Highlight Elders’ Stories
Sharing the stories of older adults who have influenced your life is a powerful way to honor them and demonstrate their value to our communities. These stories serve as a reminder that older adults aren’t just recipients of care; they are contributors, mentors, and inspirations. By showcasing their achievements, resilience, and the lessons they’ve imparted, you’re shining a spotlight on the richness of their experiences. It encourages others to look beyond age and see the wisdom that older adults bring to society. Check out more ideas for capturing and preserving older adults’ stories.
- Get the Kids Involved!
Getting kids involved in celebrating Grandparents Day is a wonderful way to strengthen family bonds and create lasting memories. Children love to get creative, so encourage them to make handmade cards, crafts, or artwork for their grandparents. Provide them with art supplies like colored paper, markers, crayons, and stickers. Grandparents will treasure these personalized creations as keepsakes.
Or you can get the kids to help prepare a special meal or dessert for their grandparents in the kitchen. Baking cookies, making a family recipe, or even a simple picnic in the backyard can be a fun way to celebrate. Need more inspiration? You could also help the kids create an “I love you because…” list, plan a sleepover with the grandparents, or make a photo album.
By coming together, you can help make Grandparents Day and Respect for the Aged Day special for older adults in your community. Spreading awareness and kindness towards older adults is about recognizing their intrinsic worth and impact on our lives and communities. It’s about consciously bridging generational divides, combating loneliness, and creating a more inclusive and compassionate world. By devoting your time, volunteering, sharing knowledge, and celebrating their stories, you’re making a difference in their lives and shaping a society that values and respects its elders.
Serving residents in Eastern and Central Pennsylvania, the UDS Foundation is a non-profit organization that helps the aging, veterans, and people with disabilities live safely and independently in their own homes. With more than 55 years of experience, the UDS Foundation has developed various services and programs that improve the quality of life and expand boundaries for people throughout Eastern and Central Pennsylvania and beyond. Learn more about UDS Foundation’s initiatives and commitment to empowering seniors and individuals with disabilities at www.udservices.org.