HISTORY OF NATIONAL SENIOR CITIZENS DAY
National Senior Citizens Day recognizes seniors who have spent their lives contributing to society and have impacted everyone’s lives for the better. Improved healthcare has changed demographics and increased productivity of older citizens, allowing them to be more active than ever before. With more opportunities available as well, many senior citizens now begin second careers and are an example for younger generations. The country’s foundation and stable sectors are the result of the hard work of our senior citizens and they deserve all our gratitude.
President Ronald Reagan took the initiative to honor seniors in 1988 when he signed Proclamation 5847 and marked August 21 as the day seniors will be celebrated. “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.”
His words have withstood the test of time and are now, over 30 years later, more important than ever as older people are leading more productive lives. Reagan himself set an example for everyone — he was 69 years old when one of the world’s most powerful titles of president of the U.S. was given to him on January 20, 1981. Reagan lived till the ripe old age of 93, and not only was he the oldest person to be elected president, he was also the oldest when his term ended at 77 years and 349 days.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, approximately 78 million people aged 65 and older will reside in America by 2035. This figure will surpass the number of the population under the age of 18 for the first time in the nation’s history.