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Southfield, Michigan 48033-7496

In the month of May we celebrate Older Americans Month via the Administration on Aging at the federal level and Older Michiganians Day with the State of Michigan. The United Nations has also created the International Day of Older Persons on October 1st annually to “increase awareness of the impact of having an aging population. We want people in society to be able to grow old with dignity.”

This is such an important philosophy with growing importance as the population ages in America. To enhance an appreciation of older citizens there is much we can do. First of all, encouraging an intergenerational approach to life is of utmost importance. There is a centuries old Latin phrase: Example teaches. This is very powerful. Our children and grandchildren observe our actions. Teach them early on to appreciate their older loved ones and others in the community. Giving our time and resources to seniors is a great way to act on this. With all that is going on in our lives, it is easy to push this off until another day. Recently I heard a great comment from Rabbi Steve Leder in that many of our regrets at the end of our life are about what we did not do rather than what we did.

Do you have a former teacher or mentor that shaped your life in a positive way? Make sure you acknowledge them today. Do you have an aunt or uncle or other relative who never missed your birthday with cards and a little cash? How long has it been since you sent them a card? Facebook birthday wishes are nice but cannot match the appreciation given by a card or a phone call. If you are an educator or PTO officer encourage your schools to engage in intergenerational programs. PVM Villages have been pleased to host choirs, arts projects and storytelling visits from community members. Embrace family history so young persons learn what their older loved ones were like when they were their age. Compassion comes easily when encouraged at a young age.

Let’s celebrate older persons as a society every chance we get!