Memorial Day is a very important day for many Americans. It is a day to honor the men and women in the military who gave their lives while serving our country. This day is often especially important to your senior loved ones. Because of this, they likely want to do something that helps them to honor this day and show their appreciation.
The U.S. Census Bureau reports that approximately one in four seniors is a veteran of the armed services, and as such, they are likely to know individuals who died in combat. For them, Memorial Day can be a time that fills them with many mixed emotions, and it is important to be sensitive to their needs.
Whether your senior loved one lives on their own, with you, or in an assisted living facility, you can aid them in flying the American flag. This is an excellent way for them to show their patriotism and do something personally that shows how much they honor Memorial Day. The size or location of the flag does not matter, just as long as they are involved in the flag flying process.
If your senior loved one knows any veterans who have passed away, they can take flowers or a flag to their gravesite. This is a meaningful way for them to pay their respects to those who have served and passed on.
Remembering those who have gone before us helps future generations feel connected to their heritage and strengthens families. Gather your family for a picnic and ask your senior loved one to tell stories about their comrades at the cemetery. Some cemeteries are designed to be beautiful park-like settings. They have rolling green lawns, ponds, forested areas, and even trails for walking or biking. These can be great places for a picnic and to feel close to your ancestors as you enjoy the peaceful setting with your living family members.
But, Memorial Day can be a painful time for some family members who are still grieving, so if there are others at the cemetery please be mindful of them.
Decorating gravestones is the most common way that families honor their ancestors and loved ones. Some families adorn graves with flowers, others with flags. Still, others leave pebbles or coins. It is also common to leave small tokens of remembrances at the graveside. Make sure to check the cemetery’s guidelines on grave decorations.
Finally, the most important thing is supporting your loved ones by honoring the holiday in a way that is special to them. Take time to really listen to their needs and respect their requests.
“Veterans are a symbol of what makes our nation great, and we must never forget all they have done to ensure our freedom.”- Rodney Frelinghuysen