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Older adults deserve recognition every day of the year. Not only are they a wealth of knowledge and experience, but they often help blaze a trail for the younger generations that came after them. While they are always held in high esteem, Aug. 21 is recognized as National Senior Citizens Day and gives everyone around the country the chance to celebrate the vital role America's 65-and-older citizens play in the national community.
A long tradition
National Senior Citizens Day was established 25 years ago, when President Ronald Reagan set aside the day in late August as a time to recognize the contributions older adults have made throughout their lives. The holiday has an even greater importance now given that the over-65 population is the fastest-growing demographic in the country, with about 10,000 Americans reaching the milestone each day. More than two decades ago, Reagan hit the nail on the head when discussing why he formed the holiday.
"Many older people are embarking on second careers, giving younger Americans a fine example of responsibility, resourcefulness, competence and determination. And more than 4.5 million senior citizens are serving as volunteers in various programs and projects that benefit every sector of society," he wrote. "Wherever the need exists, older people are making their presence felt — for their own good and that of others."
How to celebrate
There are a variety of ways family members can observe National Senior Citizens Day, but one of the easiest, and most effective, is simply to spend time with their older parents or grandparents. However, those looking to take things a bit further should think about involving all seniors at local retirement communities or other residential areas in their plans. Even if it's just hosting a luncheon or outdoor event, paying tribute to the seniors in their lives is what matters most.
More than one day
While Aug. 21 may officially be the day to honor seniors, businesses around the country often provide them with discounts the entire year. In fact, with a small bit of research seniors may find they're entitled to discounts they never knew existed. Perhaps most importantly, older adults should ask if there are any discounts available, according U.S. News and World Report. Although many stores and companies provide discounts, they may not be advertised. Certain memberships, especially AARP, also entitle older adults to some financial benefits.