Senior Citizens Day is observed on August 21st to commemorate the elderly and appreciate them for being the pillars of our community.
We often seek wisdom and guidance from older people and learn valuable lessons from their life experiences. Senior citizens are known for their generosity and willingness to assist us in times of need. That's why we dedicate a day to celebrate and honor them.
This national celebration should not be confused with the International Day of Older Persons which was introduced by the United Nations General Assembly in 1990 and celebrated on October 1. It is also occasionally and unofficially referred to as World Senior Citizens Day.
History of Senior Citizens Day
On August 19, 1988, President Ronald Reagan issued proclamation number 5847 declaring August 21 as National Senior Citizen's Day. In this proclamation, President Reagan says:
"For all they have achieved throughout life and for all they continue to accomplish, we owe older citizens our thanks and a heartfelt salute".
Reagan thought it important to have a day to celebrate the achievements of Senior Citizens and to thank them for all the support they give society and their communities.
Who are Senior Citizens
There is actually no universal definition of a "senior citizen" that applies to all contexts. The term generally refers to individuals who are older and have reached a particular age milestone, but the specific age can vary depending on the context, and changes too as life expectancy increases.
When it comes to certain government programs and benefits, such as Medicare, individuals typically become eligible at age 65. In the context of retirement, individuals may start considering themselves as senior citizens upon reaching the traditional retirement age of 65 or when they become eligible for Social Security benefits.
However, that people's perceptions of what constitutes a senior citizen can vary. Some individuals may consider themselves senior citizens once they reach their 60s, while others may have a wider definition that includes individuals in their 50s or even 40s.
Senior Citizens in America
The goal of Senior Citizens Day is not only to show our appreciation for all that our elders do, but also to raise awareness of the conditions that many older people live in, and the struggles they face, and to support them as they get older. In some places, senior citizens are the age bracket that often faces the most difficulties, and suffer from health or economic issues.
In America, senior citizens are a growing age group. The U.S. Census Bureau's national survey in 2019 showed that there had been an increase from 2010 to 2020 in the number of Senior Citizens. There were 13,787,044 more adults 65+ years old in 2020 than in 2010, an increase of 34%. The total number of adults over the age of 65 in 2019 was 54.1 million, or 16% of the population. The Census Bureau has also predicted that by 2034 there will be more adults over the age of 65 than children under the age of 18.
Presidential Senior Citizens
In the history of the United States, five presidents have been aged 65 or older when inaugurated. Joe Biden became the oldest president in American history when he was elected at the age of 78 in January 2021. In order the oldest Presidents are:
Joe Biden - 78 years and 61 days.
Donald Trump - 70 years and 220 days.
Ronald Reagan - 69 years and 348 days.
William Henry Harrison - 68 years and 23 days
James Buchanan - 65 years and 315 days.
What to do on Senior Citizens Day
Senior Citizens Day is the perfect day to go visit the elders in your family, be it your grandparents or a great-aunt or uncle, and spend some quality time with them. Listen to their life stories, take them out to their favorite restaurant, or cook them a delicious meal, and ask them to teach you some valuable lessons or skills. The most important thing is to make them know how much you appreciate them.
Another great thing to start doing on Senior Citizens Day is volunteering at Care Homes or organizations that support senior citizens. You can take meals to senior citizens, or help them around the house, or you can spend some time in a care home entertaining their residents and helping out wherever you can.