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Topics About 'Senior Citizens Day'.

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  1. Aging is not a disease. I feel very strongly about this, and I know many other nurses also do. Still, many nurses have a very different attitude toward seniors, and indeed, they reflect a lot of what society says about our elders. I want to remind myself and you to stop and reflect and examine our views and attitudes towards Senior Citizens and how we treat them. Aging is Not a Disease Many elders are bright, active, contributing members of their communities. Let’s emulate the Japanese and honor our seniors. There were 4,096,607 registered nurses (RNs) and 920,655 licensed practical nurses/licensed vocational nurses (LPN/LVNs) in the United States as of October 2019 (2020NurseandMidwife). I would venture to say most of us work with seniors at least part of the time, whether we are working in a doctor’s office, hospital, or of course, if we are working in Skilled Nursing or managed care facilities. So, the numbers tell us we affect many older people. I have watched too many nurses talk baby talk to these beautiful people in our charge. Those nurses are well-intentioned, however misguided. There is also a prevalent attitude that these people are naturally disabled. First of all, it is not always true. I knew one man, who would be considered elderly, who went on a mountain climbing trek for a vacation. I know another senior, 80 years old this month, who rides approximately 20 miles a day on his bicycle for exercise. You can probably think of those in your own life who are still very active and taking care of themselves, and perhaps even taking care of others. For those that have become weakened or even handicapped with age, we need to step back, let them do everything they can for themselves (I know, this takes a lot of patience), and then offer to assist before jumping in to do anything for them. History of this Day It was President Ronald Reagan who declared August 21 as National Senior Citizens Day. He did this when he signed Proclamation 5847. At that time, he said: “Throughout our history, older people have achieved much for our families, our communities, and our country. That remains true today, and gives us ample reason this year to reserve a special day in honor of the senior citizens who mean so much to our land,” Reagan proclaimed. “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 — places in which older people can participate to the fullest and can find the encouragement, acceptance, assistance, and services they need to continue to lead lives of independence and dignity.” (National Senior Citizens Day – August 21, 2021) Of course, it is poignant that Ronald Reagan himself ended up battling one of the Alzheimer’s diseases; one of the most debilitating diseases we face. How We Treat Them is How They’ll Behave The United States’ attitude toward Senior Citizens gets pretty low marks. Watch the advertising, and the TV shows, and the movies. So much of the time elderly are depicted as foolish, slow, or ludicrous. We all know people who play into that. I have even known co-workers at Skilled Nursing facilities who made very bad, deprecating jokes about older people in general. We can do better. All of us, seniors included, tend to act the way we’re treated. It’s a natural reaction. Remember the old adage “treat someone like a horse long enough, eventually they’ll put on a saddle”. I may be misquoting a little there. Anyway, for our own good and the good of others, let’s try to have a more healthy, positive perspective about aging in this country. We need to realize what our elders can give us – wisdom, kindness, encouragement, the benefits of their vast experiences. Many seniors contribute to the betterment of our communities with their volunteer work. Let’s honor all of them on this National Senior Citizen’s Day.