Bringing happiness to our seniors
THE OLDER generation of our population is a valuable part of our society. Our senior parents and grandparents are living memories of history, imparting well-earned wisdom and advice, and providing support and guidance to their children and grandchildren as they navigate the many different aspects of life.
August 21 is celebrated as Senior Citizens Day. Adults age 65 and over are the largest and fastest-growing age group in our society. Older members of our family have often lived through wars or seen harder times and can be a source of inspiration for younger family members.
Their stories of adversity, or simply of navigating life over a long time, help children to realise that life can be navigated through determination and hard work. Just as importantly, an older family member can often provide the role of mentor, encouraging and inspiring a young child to chase their dreams.
At times when a parent-child relationship is challenging, a grandparent can become an extension of the unconditional love provided by family.
HOW TO CELEBRATE THIS DAY WITH OUR SENIOR PARENTS
There are plenty of ways in which we can show our elderly parents and grandparents that we love them, through big gestures or the little things. Let your elders know that you cherish them through any of the following approaches:
•Visit your elderly parents or grandparents if they live away from you. Spend the day with them, or stay for a meal. It will feel like old times again, when you were a child, and your parents and grandparents were your heroes.
•Bring them their favourite food. Cook a delicious dish at home, or order it in from your parents’ or grandparents’ favourite restaurant or bakery. It is a simple gesture, yet it will bring a huge smile to their faces.
•Help them with chores or important tasks. It could be something small, like cleaning the tops of the cupboards or sorting through old clothes, or it could be something with a purpose, like helping them to complete bank or insurance forms. Sometimes, our elders are too proud to ask for help, but they do need it, so go ahead and offer it.
•Spend time with senior neighbours, relatives, or friends, especially if they do not have their own family around. Have a cup of tea with them, or bring them some home-made snacks. It is a thoughtful action that will bring happiness to them, and blessings to you.
•Buy them a thoughtful gift. Try to think of what your parents or grandparents need, like, or have always wanted. Or, pick up something that reminds you of them. Either way, it is a gesture that will elicit plenty of joy.
HOW CHILDREN CAN ENJOY THIS DAY WITH THEIR GRANDPARENTS
Children can have a wonderful time with their grandparents on Senior Citizens Day. Children share a special bond with their grandmas and grandpas, and they enjoy being together. The children can learn a lot from the elders, and the seniors love having young, vibrant energy around them. Here are a few ways in which children and grandparents can celebrate Senior Citizen Day on August 21:
•Children can make drawings and cards, putting their artistic skills to use. A classic drawing is that of a family of grandparents, parents, and children. Help your child make a colourful family portrait to present to the lucky grandparents.
•Talk about family history through old stories and family photographs. Grandparents love narrating anecdotes from the past, and children love listening to them. Old family photos will show children how beautiful and handsome grandma and grandpa looked in their youth, and you might just get to hear about how many people wanted to marry them.
•Bring out the board games, and play Scrabble, Ludo, or Monopoly together. Yes, seniors love child-like fun, too. It will make a nice change for them, and they can even teach their grandchildren a few tricks on how to win.
•Do puzzles together. The children and grandparents can spend the day putting together a 500- or 1,000-piece puzzle, resulting in a pretty picture and hours of fun.
•They can also share their hobbies. Grandparents can teach children how to garden, cook a simple dish or play golf, while children can teach them new things on the smartphone, how to play a video game, or even simple words of a new language they are learning at school.
SOURCE: World Health Organization, United Nations