Did you know? More than 1.5 million of our oldest seniors served in our military in World War II. 9.1 million is the estimated number of veterans who are 65 years of age or older. Most seniors, whether they served in the armed forces or not, had friends and family who were killed in America’s various wars. They are likely to be interested in commemorating Memorial Day with more than a picnic or family get-together.

A traditional way to mark Memorial Day is by flying an American flag. Some seniors will prefer to fly the flag at half-mast until noon. For a housebound elderly person, this may be the only way he can participate in the day.

A more mobile senior can benefit from participating or standing on the sidelines of a Memorial Day parade. He or she may also want to visit the cemetery to place a flag or flowers on the gravesides of fallen soldiers or visit with the families of those who lost loved ones in the military.

The elderly may want to reminisce about people they knew who gave up their lives for freedom or about their days in the military. It’s important to give them the chance to share those memories on this day. Old albums or newspaper clippings can help bring the stories alive. They may have forgotten a lot of stories, but if you ask questions it may spark their memories and bring back some amazing tales. This can help them remember the good days and not focus exclusively on the losses.

You can also commemorate Memorial Day by donating to an organization which helps veterans. The senior can donate himself or you can make a donation in his name. Some organizations send a certificate or other memento of the donation, so the satisfaction lasts past Memorial Day. There’s nothing better than knowing that you have helped someone else!

Memorial Day picnics don’t seem to be much of a commemoration on the surface, but they are an opportunity to get together with friends and family to celebrate the people we love and be thankful that they are with us. For seniors who are less mobile, going out may be a challenge, but it’s one that’s worth investing in. Our spring edition of the Best of Care magazine has great tips on getting seniors moving and taking them out of doors for some spring air and enjoyment.