It’s important to take the time to appreciate the little things in life. It’s no less important for us to make time for the seniors in our lives and in our community. Seniors represent a wealth of knowledge and life experience that helped guide and shape our lives from a young age, to even now. For that reason, along with countless others, they truly deserve a day of celebration.
But why only celebrate them for one day? We should honour our favourite seniors and their achievements and contributions whenever we get a chance. So while we have National Seniors Day: here’s 12 great ideas to help you celebrate every day like it’s National Seniors Day.
Volunteer with a Senior You Know and Love
Not only does volunteering for a good cause help your community, but it can also help you better understand and bond with a senior, grandparent, neighbour or friend in your life. Volunteering for a day with a senior you know will undoubtedly help to maintain a bond. It could also inspire you to become an advocate for a great cause, that even with a generation between you, be a common point of passion and interest for you and a senior in your life.
Spending Time with the Whole Family
If this comes in the form of a family reunion, this is always welcomed; but spending the day with a senior doesn’t need to be an elaborate event. Take the time to visit your loved one at their home or in their senior living community to share a meal together, look at photographs, or simply reminisce. The point is, spending an afternoon together is not difficult to do; just make sure you give yourself the time to make the visit meaningful.
Explore the Outdoors
As the weather changes to autumn, now is a perfect time to take a walk and enjoy the crisp outdoors. If you have an elderly friend or family member who enjoys immersing themselves in nature—or simply enjoys the company while walking—take them on a short hike on a park trail. Or just to enjoy glimpsing the fall colours; it’s also fun to invite the kids along.
Ask Them to Teach You How to Make Your Favourite Dish
Cooking with a grandparent so they may teach you how to make your favourite family dish is a great way to bond; but so too is telling them how much that dish means to you. Bonding over food and “breaking bread” with a senior in your life is a great way to enjoy a day together.
Help Out Around Their House
While certain tasks such as cutting the grass, raking leaves, and walking the dog are activities that may get harder with age, helping a senior you love with any task around the house is a way to show you care. Even if they don’t need you, they’ll appreciate a level of care being put forward. So even if it’s as simple as driving a senior to an appointment, or just vacuuming here-and-there, it’s a gesture that goes a long way.
Ask About Your Family History
For many of us, our family history consists of a verbal recounting of old stories, but sometimes, there is very little of it documented. Try to ask specific questions about an event you already know a little about; you might yourself with how your knowledge of your family history will grow, and how you’ll hear stories you’d never would know otherwise.
Tell Them the Ways They’ve Made an Impact on You
It’s easy to forget to tell someone what they mean to you over the years; especially the people who’ve always are there for you. Set aside some time to tell them all the ways they’ve helped you to become the person you are today. This can feel significant to anyone in your life, and is recommended beyond grandmothers, in-laws or elderly friends.
Have Them Teach You a Skill
Many seniors amassed a great number of skills over the years; partly because they had to be much more self-sufficient than (arguably) most younger generations. For example, have an interest in sewing, painting, woodworking, or crafts? Chances are you’ll be able to learn a thing or two from a friendly senior in your life. Not only will you gain the knowledge of an additional skill, but you’ll make your teacher feel valued and needed; and that’s just as important.
Call Them on The Phone
While you might have grandpa on Facebook (maybe even Snapchat?), this is a generation that didn’t grow up native to technology and values face-to-face or verbal communication. So instead of getting on Instagram with grandma, take time to call. They’ll love to hear the sound of your voice.
Play a Game Together
Introducing a bit of competition to your visit is both great fun and a good way to remind you of fond family memories. Have your grandparents teach you their favourite card game, or you teach them a board game you enjoy; even if it’s complicated!
Visit a Senior Centre
No senior in your life? No worries; there are plenty of ways to volunteer; even if it means visiting a local community. Even just dropping by when you have a couple hours can make a significant impact with the residents.
Make it a Habit
Arguably the most important thing to remember is this: don’t make these visits, conversations, or walks a once-a-year encounter; or events that we can count on a single hand. Find ways to make your chances to bond happen regularly and include them as part of your normal life.
There’s no way to fully appreciate all the great things these influential people have done over the course of their long lives, or recognize their impact to you and other loved ones. We hope that this list inspires you to celebrate the contributions of seniors; or at least start dialling the number to a senior you know and love to ask them about their day. Big or small, any gesture is a step towards telling a senior how much they mean to you.