National Senior Citizens Day, will be celebrated this year on Saturday, August 21st, and is an annual recognition of the contributions older citizens make in their communities across the United States. Once celebrated on August 14th, the day in 1935 when President Franklin Roosevelt signed the National Social Security Act, Senior Citizens Day was officially proclaimed in 1988 by outgoing President Ronald Reagan, who was himself a senior citizen.
Seniors are making up a growing segment of our population in the United States and around the world. By the year 2060, the population over age 65 is expected to be around 24 percent of the nation’s total, at 94.7 million. By then, the national median age will rise from today’s 38.3 to 43 years.
This shift in demographics is changing the economies of many countries around the world not just our own. As people get older and more and more of them retire from their paid positions there is a loss of valuable experience in the workforce, but there are good things that happen as well. Room is made for new and younger workers, and in turn there are more retired people available for volunteer opportunities. Here at Wayne Township we have many older people who volunteer for projects connected with our office. They help out with our Family Fun Day (on September 18th this year), our Clothing Emporium and our school supply store or they work a regular volunteer shift in our Food Pantry.
It is important that, as a society, we continue to appreciate the contributions made by the seniors among us. Everyone should spend time with the seniors in our lives, not just for the elder’s benefit, but for the younger ones as well. Senior citizens have so much experience and wise perspective on the ways of the world.
Many times we hear young people become worried and upset about various happenings in the news and social media. They often think that these events are new and unheard of and that we must be heading for never-before-seen disasters, but the elders among us have experienced much that is similar to or the same as those things happening today. Often seniors have ‘been there, done that’ and they know that despite appearances, things tend to work out in the end.
Over the last year and a half the world has lived through the COVID-19 pandemic, a situation of unheard-of hardship for the world. But wait, a very few people among us might in fact remember that in 1918 there was another pandemic that claimed a similar proportion of lives to what we are experiencing now. Granted this was outside the lifespan of the vast majority of us, but not all. The point is there is a continuity in our lives that is carried forward by each of us including the current and the soon-to-be elderly. With all of that experience and wisdom there to be shared, we are all the better for it.
So Happy Senior Citizen Day whatever your age. It really is something to celebrate.