National Senior Citizens Day: Date, Activity Ideas & How to Celebrate


You have heard of Mother’s Day and Veteran’s Day, but did you know there’s a day for celebrating senior citizens? It’s not a widely celebrated holiday, but it might be worth adding National Senior Citizens Day to your calendar. It’s likely you have a senior in your life that would enjoy the recognition. 

Jump ahead to these sections:

Keep reading to learn about National Senior Citizens Day. We will tell you when it is and teach you how it came to be. Finally, we will give you ideas on how to celebrate.

When is National Senior Citizens Day?

National Senior Citizens Day is held on August 21 every year.

According to Forbes Magazine, by 2035, there will be 78 million people over 65 living in the United States. People are living longer than they used to. And they’re continuing to work and be involved in the community even as they age. Many older Americans are living productive and happy lives. This is definitely something worth celebrating. 

What is National Senior Citizens Day?

Why does the U.S. have a National Senior Citizens Day? To understand why, consider reading the original document that declared its existence.

This document, Proclamation 5847, was signed by President Ronald Reagan on August 19, 1988.


National Senior Citizens Day was designed as a day to thank our elderly citizens. You might be thanking a family member for their role in your life. Or thanking someone for their contribution to the community. 

National Senior Citizens Day is an opportunity to say “thanks” to older Americans for what they have done to make our families and country better. It’s also a time to reflect on our current communities.

Proclamation 5847 encourages “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.” Are those things happening in your neighborhood? It’s an important thing to ask. No matter the answer, National Senior Citizens Day is an opportunity to improve your community's support of the elderly.  

How to celebrate

You can celebrate National Senior Citizens Day by giving thanks to the elderly in your life. It’s also a good time to examine your relationships with them.

And take a few minutes to think about your community and how it supports and assists senior citizens. Make a plan, so when August 21st rolls around once again, you will know how to commemorate this special day.

How to Honor Seniors on National Senior Citizens Day

What should you do to honor senior citizens on their special day? Here are some ideas.

Thank the senior citizens you know for their contributions

Think about the older adults that you know. Some of them are veterans. They may have fought bravely for our country. Some were teachers who may have assisted you during your formative years. 

Regardless of their careers, some older people played an essential role in your childhood. Thank them for it. Tell them about the difference they made in your life. 

Visit a nursing home

Do you know someone living in a nursing home or senior living community? Use National Senior Citizens Day as an excuse to visit. 

While you are there, take a moment to smile and say “hi” to the residents who don’t have visitors. Listen to their stories and share some of yours. 

Learn about the concerns of senior citizens

Use August 21st to learn about concerns of senior citizens on a national and state level. Visit AARP’s website to familiarize yourself with proposed bills that would support older Americans.

If there are bills you think would have an impact contact your federal or state representatives to get them to support it.

Volunteer at a local senior citizen center

Most communities have senior citizen centers that offer services and support to older adults. Contact the staff of these centers and ask how you can be of help in your local community.

Perhaps they will encourage you to volunteer with the Meals on Wheels program. Or maybe they will ask that you create toiletry kits to distribute to seniors in need. They might ask you to use your knowledge to teach a class to older people in your community. You can make a difference in a senior citizen’s life in many ways. 

Donate to a charity that supports seniors

Think about what charities support senior citizens at a local and state level. Donate your time or money to those charities.

Thank the senior citizens who volunteer in your community

There are plenty of seniors who are using their free time to volunteer in your community. They are reading to kids at local schools, serving meals at funerals, and watering trees in public parks.

Take a moment to say thank you to those people who are making the most out of their retirement. They have worked hard all their lives and could be spending each day on the golf course. Instead, they are giving back to the community.

Encourage others on social media to do something nice for a senior citizen that day

Think of all the silly things you post on your social media accounts. Instead of sharing another silly video, let them know National Senior Citizen Day is approaching. Encourage them to do something nice for a senior citizen.

You could even include this article to give your friends ideas on what they can do.

Interview senior citizens about their life

Think of all the historical events that the seniors in your life experienced. They were around during world wars and assassinations. They saw the invention and development of the car and the telephone. They may have lived in homes without running water or electricity.

Ask your senior friend about their life. No matter how they grew up, you're sure to hear some interesting stories. 

Help a senior in need

Do you have a senior citizen living in your community? Do they need rides to the doctor’s office? Do your senior neighbors need help with their yard or snow removal? 

Maybe the senior living in your neighborhood needs help. They might need items brought down from their attic or someone to take donations to the local Salvation Army. Even completing small tasks can be a big help. 

Help an older adult do something special

Is there something that the elderly person in your life had always wanted to do? Help them fulfill their dream. or check something off of their retirement bucket list.

Research your family tree

Do you know the names of your great grandparents? What about your great-great-grandparents? Ask the oldest adults living in your family to share stories about your ancestors. 

Researching your family tree is easier than ever. There are many online resources that make it easy to fill in the blanks on your tree. You may even be able to connect with some long lost relatives. 

Visit your parents or grandparents

The time that we have with our parents and grandparents is limited. The years go quickly, and it won’t be long before your parents have a few more grey hairs.

If you are lucky enough to have grandparents or great-grandparents, National Senior Citizen Day is a great excuse to spend time with them. 

Celebrating the Seniors in Your Life

If we are lucky, we will all be senior citizens someday. Prepare for the transition by reading healthcare books about how to stay healthy. And consider some of the long-term care decisions that you may have to make eventually. 

Use National Senior Citizen Day as a time to celebrate the elderly people in your life. Even if you’re not particularly close with them it’s still nice to acknowledge them. You never know how many more opportunities you’ll get to say thank you. 


  1. Jefferson, Robin. “Now In Its 31st Year, National Senior Citizens Day Is Perhaps More Relevant Than Ever.” Forbes.
  2. “Proclamation 5847 of August 19, 1988 National Senior Citizens Day, 1988”

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