These days, senior citizens are more active than ever…and it’s high time we celebrate, embrace and take advantage of that (no matter what age we are). And there’s no better time to kick off the celebration than on August 21st. That’s when the United States of America recognizes National Senior Citizens Day. Declared as a national day of observance by Ronald Reagan in 1988, the day was established to honor senior citizens in the nation who’ve made positive contributions in their communities, and also to bring awareness of health, economic and social issues that affect older adults.
Back in the day, getting “old” meant slowing down and sort of “retiring” from the world. In fact, that was still the case for many back in 1988! But these days, that couldn’t be further from the truth. Famous senior citizens like Betty White, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Morgan Freeman (just to name a few) are on the move and showing the world that getting older means you just get better at kicking butt. And that’s not including the countless seniors across the country who make a difference each and every day in their communities. Here are just a few “everyday” examples of spectacular, superhero seniors to inspire you:
At the age of 68, Ruth Flowers, aka “Mamy Rock,” decided to become a club DJ. By the age of 72, she was making headlines performing around the world at the hottest clubs and living the rockstar lifestyle.
Robert Marchand set a world record for one-hour track cycling in February 2012 in the over-100 age group, and continued to break records every year after that. In 2018, at the age of 106, he decided to retire from competitive racing…but he’s still pedaling away at home on his stationary bike.
Doris Long decided to take things up a notch and become an industrial climber “for fun” at the age of 85. Since then, she’s raised funds for many hospices and hospitals and made more than 20 charity descents. Today, “Daring Doris” is officially the oldest abseiler in the world at 102 years young.
Jeffrey Life, M.D., decided he needed to make a life change at age 59. Taking philosophies and protocols from the Cenegenics Medical Institute, he went from overweight and out of shape to a bodybuilder. These days, Dr. Life is in the best shape of his life, has a thriving family health practice and has written two health and fitness books. He dedicates his time to creating personalized healthy aging action plans for individuals so more seniors can live life to the fullest.
At Melrose Meadows, we like to treat every day as National Senior Citizens day. After all, we see firsthand the positive difference seniors can make, and the amazing things they can do. Whether you’re currently living in a senior living community or if you’re just beginning this chapter of your retired life, here are some ways you can celebrate Senior Citizens Day (and perhaps find a new passion or continue an existing one):
Volunteer your services for a charity or non-profit. Many organizations in your community welcome (and desperately need) caring volunteers to help them carry out their missions. Whether you’re passionate about animals, devoted to helping children learn and thrive, dedicated to beautifying the community through your green thumb or anything else, connect with organizations in your area and see where your talents could best be put to use. Churches, local Ronald McDonald Houses, hospitals, hospice homes and animal shelters are all great places to find meaningful volunteer work.
Connect with Senior Corps. Senior Corps, a division of AmeriCorps, connects individuals 55+ with organizations and individuals who need their assistance. You can become a mentor, contribute your job skills and knowledge, help others as a coach or companion and so much more. Senior Corps has three specific divisions where you can devote your time and efforts:
Become a foster grandparent, volunteering your time and becoming a friend, mentor and role model to children and youth in your community.
Become a senior companion who provides friendship and assistance to older adults who need help with daily living tasks, allowing them to live comfortably and independently in their homes.
Take advantage of service opportunities through RSVP such as:
Helping renovate homes
Teaching English as a second language
Tutoring and mentoring youth in the community
Organizing neighborhood watch programs
Assisting victims of natural disasters
Become a leader at your senior living community. If you reside in a senior living community or if you are involved with your local senior center, make a difference in your life and the lives of your fellow seniors! Form a committee or an activity group based on your interests, like a dining club or a gardening group. Connect with the staff and see if there are opportunities for you to benefit your community, whether helping schedule guest lecturers, work with the dining hall to come up with new and exciting cuisine, or suggest new and fun exercise classes for the fitness center.
The beautiful thing about getting older is that we have so much knowledge and life experience to share…and enough time to actually help others! So this Senior Citizens Day, kick off this aspect of your life by finding meaningful opportunities for you to give back. Who knows? Perhaps one day we’ll be hearing about you on the news for being the oldest person to accomplish your dreams!