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Celebrate National Senior Citizens’ Day: Ask One Simple Question

User Category: HolidaysOn: August 17, 2012

 In August of 1988, President Ronald Reagan ushered in a new era of how we think about aging by creating National Senior Citizens' Day.

National Senior Citizens Day, deemed by Congress to be August 21st, provides an opportunity to acknowledge and promote awareness for the contributions of older adults to society. In Reagan’s words, "For all they have achieved throughout life and for all they continue to accomplish, we owe older citizens our thanks and a heartfelt salute. We can best demonstrate our gratitude and esteem by making sure … older people can participate to the fullest and can find the encouragement, acceptance, assistance, and services they need to continue to lead lives of independence and dignity. " Food of Love For many older adults, “community” begins at home. When caregivers value the capabilities of older loved ones and allow them to exercise independence, they help improve wellbeing and longevity.  In fact, a recent study showed that Alzheimer’s caregivers often overestimate a loved one’s dependence, which can be damaging. Tomorrow on this year's National Senior Citizens' Day, practice a supportive attitude – Ask your loved one one simple question,  “How would you like to help?”. Maybe it’s reading with a grandchild, peeling vegetables at dinnertime, or organizing towels in the linen closet. Find small, manageable tasks that allow your loved one to contribute in meaningful ways. Also invite your older loved one to be an active participant in the conversation about his or her healthcare. Over 75% of adults age 50 and up want to remain at home as they age, studies show. Question your loved one about his or her preference for aging in place and desired plans for end of life care. Do your part to research tools and resources that enable them to remain at home as long as possible, while helping you effectively manage their care. Whatever you do,  don’t leave them out of the conversation. Remember to ask your loved one, "How would you like to help?”. Try it and let us know how it goes in the comments below.