Sacramento celebrates national Senior Citizens Day on August 21st. One healthy trend is to celebrate the day by recording a medical family history to pass to the next generation for informational purposes along with life story excerpts, experiences, and memorable times. In Sacramento, there’s not much planned for National Senior Citizen’s Day in three days. However, today, August 18, the news is that some senior citizens participated in a protest.
About 20 people, including several in wheelchairs, were blocking L Street at 11th Street in front of the state Capitol to protest proposed cuts to in-home healthcare services. Numerous seniors as well as people with a variety of disabilities receive care in-home healthcare services.
Police in downtown Sacramento today said they had arrested two protesters for resisting arrest, and were trying to persuade other protesters to leave as of when the street blockage began about 2:45 p.m, according to the Sacramento Bee’s August 18, 2010 online news blog site, “Capitol Alert.”
The civil disobedience was an unplanned offshoot of a Capitol rally and march by a coalition of senior citizen, working parents and disability rights groups, among others, said Mary Ignatius, who helped coordinate the event. That’s one way to celebrate one introduction to Senior Citizens Day in Sacramento, a national day of observance for those who observe it. Unfortunately, not much is in the news yet about where to go in Sacramento to celebrate the national day. You might try any events at the various Sacramento senior centers.
You might try the Ethel M. Hart senior center in Sacramento on Saturday, August 21st. The center’s Saturday hours are: 9:30am to 1pm. Online, it doesn’t look like much celebration is planned locally. So perhaps you might invite a senior citizen to lunch or celebrate privately. It would be great if in Sacramento a neighborhood with numerous senior citizens had a block party in the afternoon. (Some seniors don’t see well at night).
Out of courtesy for seniors, do plan parties, dances, concerts, and other entertainment at noon rather than early in the morning when a lot of people’s arthritis acts up. Don’t plan too many activities after dark. The buses aren’t running on weekends after certain hours for people to ride home. And many seniors don’t like to drive at night or can’t see well enough in the dark.
Others don’t like waiting at bus or light rail benches after sundown. Best times for celebrating senior citizens day locally is around noon or between noon and 4 pm in the summer. That gives those a chance to get to public transportation before it stops running. Some seniors walk slowly and need time to reach public transportation. Another way to celebrate the day in Sacramento is to invite a senior to an event, a picnic, park, recreational experience, or your home. What makes block parties great is neighbors get to know one another.
On August 21, 2010, the country will honor National Senior Citizens Day which in the media will be observed as a day to honor our older population. On this day, we are encouraged to recognize and show appreciation for the value and contribution of older people to home, family and society.
The Origin of National Senior Citizens Day:
On August 19, 1988, President Ronald Reagan issued Proclamation 5847 creating National Senior Citizens Day to be August 21. There are many, many other “Senior Citizen Days” on various dates around the world. Many countries local communities and organizations have declared or held senior citizen days. See the Congressional Proclamation of National Senior Citizens Day.
Will someone or a group in Sacramento do a good deed for someone who’s older on National Senior Citizens Day? And what will be written about the day in local mainstream media? Check out the article, Five Great Group Activities for a Senior Citizen.
So how do you begin a conversation with an older adult? If you want to address an older woman as a person strolling down the sidewalk or about to enter a store or shopping mall, the polite way to address the older woman is ma’am.
In reality, the media observes the younger culture in most shopping centers and around supermarkets as addressing a strange, older woman as, “Hey, momma!” Please use more polite language as a sign of respect to honor the older woman by not addressing her to grab her attention as “Hey, momma!”
The reason is because by calling any older woman you talk to that you have never seen before knows how old she is. She doesn’t want you to remind her that you’re young and she’s old. She doesn’t want to hear that she reminds you of your own future mortality or decline.
What the strange older woman really wants from you, the younger person, is a smile, a respectful hello, or better yet, let her be if you don’t have special business with her. She doesn’t like strangers addressing her on the street to start a conversation.
Worse are young people, especially men standing in doorways who call the passing woman, “Hey, grandma!” She’s not your relative. By calling her grandma or mama, you drag her down to a lowly status solely based on her age.
Most older men are not spoken to in this manner if they’re walking down the street alone. Even some churches have young male mobile members, surrounding and singling out older women walking alone, but not when the women are with their families.
They don’t often single out older men walking alone. In particular older women “singled out” for ‘preaching’ in the street or to receive brochures are targeted based on the length of their hems. Women wearing longer skirts are picked on more than if the older woman wears slacks, according to personal experience walking to some Sacramento shopping centers.
Sacramento media needs to cover this issue of older women walking to stores or appointments being targeted or singled out and spoken to on the street in ways that older men would never be addressed. The approach is not limited to panhandlers asking for money from older women walking alone, but not from several people walking together.
There’s no reason to even talk to an older woman on the street or in a store unless you have specific business with her or know her well enough to call her by her name or title. By title, you might want to say, good morning, Dr. Smith, for example, if she’s your former professor.
The media exacerbates the problem that strange youth have in tourist areas with older women walking alone. If she’s with her husband or family members, you’d never bother talking to her. But when she’s alone, too often, youth address an older woman with grimaces or words that are meant to frighten her for no good reason.
This person has worked for the past 40 or 50 years and wants to enter an eatery to relax and buy a meal, not to listen to you tell her it’s okay to sit in a certain place, or when she orders take out food to start a conversation followed by, “she’s petrified.”
The point is if the woman doesn’t answer you, she may be hard of hearing. She’s not ignoring you. And it’s not necessary to tell the friend you’re with in a loud voice that the old lady is ‘petrified.’ Basically, the senior citizen wants to mind her own business and enjoy the meal, scenery, or the stroll.
If you’re a bus driver, why must you so frequently say to an older man boarding your bus, “Hey, old-timer,” or “Hi pops.” The senior citizen gentleman is not your pop, and doesn’t want to be addressed as an old-timer. He’s either on his way to volunteer work to bring some joy into someone’s life or is enjoying his retirement doing what he likes to do best–his favorite interests or hobbies.
Or he’s going to an appointment, possibly medical or dental and doesn’t want to be reminded that he’s an old-timer or a pops. He already knows how old he is or feels. What he wants to experience is some joy in his life, not teasing, not a practical joke, and not a reminder of his mortality. To respect and honor senior citizens is to make sure they are honored so they can be happy in their golden years without snide comments from youth that remind them of how old they are.
Older people may not want to be called ‘elderly.’ They may say, “I’m old, but I’m not elderly.” The definition has been confused in the media with the term, “frail elderly.” Basically, senior citizens should not be hidden away, ignored as invisible, or addressed in a manner that makes them feel unaccepted.
The media often addresses young people when offering services to older people. For example, advertising on the radio or TV may often say, “Call XYZ company for your parents so they can remain in their home and get care.” Almost no ads on the radio or TV address the older person directly.
Advertising constantly use the term “your parents” as if they are talking to people in their forties with parents in their 60’s and 70’s who can’t make a call themselves. But in reality people in that age bracket are still active, usually travel, and may be taking classes at lifelong learning centers.
The only exception to that ad ‘rule’ are the ads for electric power chairs, scooters, delivery of medical supplies, and other items related to people of all ages who have limited mobility, special conditions, or age-related health needs. Ads in senior citizen’s magazines usually speak directly to the readers, but still focus on the 50-year old more than the 70+ year old.
In Sacramento there are numerous life-long learning centers such as the Renaissance Society at CSUS. There’s a meeting on September 3, 2010, where you can learn about the classes, register, and enjoy some information about the seminars.
There’s also the The Osher Lifelong Learning Program, which offers stimulating seminars. Also check out the E.M. Hart Senior Center in Sacramento. If you’re in Davis, there also are life-long learning seminars in Davis. See, Osher lifelong learning institute- UC Davis Extension.
How Does the Media Cover the Culture of the Annual Senior Citizen’s Day?
In his Presidential Proclamation (August 19, 1988), President Ronald Reagan said “For all they have achieved throughout life and for all they continue to accomplish, we owe older citizens our thanks and a heartfelt salute. We can best demonstrate our gratitude and esteem by making sure that our communities are good places in which to mature and grow older.”
On National Senior Citizens Day, the media often emphasis ways in which we should:
- Spend some time with senior citizens
- Show our appreciation for senior citizens
- Do volunteer work in support of the older individual
If you are a senior citizen, enjoy your day any way you desire. It would be great if you wrote a letter to the mainstream media telling readers how you’d like to be treated, spoken to, addressed, respected, and honored for your day. With all the talk about the wisdom of age, you might see whether the media favors the wisdom of age over the energy of youth and in what situations where experience is called for. This is your day.
Make sure to take advantage of senior citizens specials and discounts. There’s bound to be plenty offers for August 21, 2010. How about offering a senior citizen something to make the person smile with joy and appreciation? It sure would be better than shouting to a passerby who looks older and who’s carrying a dark umbrella for protection against the sun.
The usual shout is, “Hey, it’s not raining.” Or “Hey, Halloween is over.” What senior citizens would love most on this day is for younger people not to shout or say these words to older folk. The wisdom of age is supposed to be experience. And seniors would like more than anything else simply a nod, a smile, or any gesture that brings joy, peace, and serenity into their day.
How the Media Can Promote Senior Citizens Day as Part of Sacramento Culture
If you’re in the media, how about making life more joyful for a senior by recording his or her life story highlights and presenting the video to that person on a DVD with a copy for a family member. You also could visit older veterans on Senior Citizens Day. Try making some some GOOD-Eat Bags. These would be cherished by older veterans. Click here to order coupons for free Quaker products.
What happens to older adults when the electricity goes off in their homes or apartments? You could provide Black Out Boxes.This gift box would contain emergency items when and if the lights go out. Here in Sacramento, you see how often the electricity goes off. You and your friends, group, or school might assemble special gift boxes of anything a senior citizen might need if the electricity goes off.
Kids do care about senior citizens. See the Kids Care site for more ideas on what gifts to make for senior citizens, especially those who are most in need, for example older veterans, people getting meals delivered, and low-income seniors in Sacramento.
Many seniors almost never get visitors because they are not able to physically travel to visit family members in other states, and their relatives are not able to visit them in Sacramento. On Senior Citizen’s Day, you might prepare a gift box for someone who needs you to lend a hand, either along with your club, group, or class, with your family, or by yourself.
Instead of shouting at an older woman, “Hey mama,” or “Hey, grandma,” how about lending a hand? See Connecting Generations Have a Heart, Lend a Hand Project.
It only takes a few hours of your time to create a lasting record of a senior citizen’s life story, generating a priceless resource for future generations. Use your camcorder on Senior Citizen’s Day to video record the life story highlights of some older people.
Talk to them about what they have done to make a difference and what they have given back to their community. See, Preserve Life Stories of the Elderly. Also check out the sites, Baby-boomers record life stories of seniors, Caregivers For Alzheimer’s Patients Record Life Stories, and Project: Life Stories. For national Senior Citizen’s Day, you may want to launch a Life Stories project, where younger volunteers interview senior citizens to learn about their lives and record their experiences on video and/or on audio files.
You can contact libraries that collect oral histories of older adults, including veteran’s life stories. One library that collects oral history archives is the Bancroft Library of UC Berkeley Oral History Archives. See, the Regional Oral History Office and the Social Security Administration’s Oral History Archives. Also see, University of California History Digital Archives – Berkeley.
Check out this Google Video for Senior Citizen’s Day of my 1991 interview with this American World War Two veteran (a US Army social worker) who helped find homes or repatriation for holocaust survivors and other displaced people in Europe at the end of World War Two.