National Seniors Day on October 1, formally known as the UN International Day for Older Persons, was declared in Canada in 2010 to acknowledge the contributions of older people. Many Canadians over 65 are active, vibrant and contributing to the economy.
In 2021, 18 percent of the Canadian population was aged 65 or older. That’s expected to grow to 24 percent by the end of the 2030s. They are living longer and healthier than previous generations, according to Employment and Social Development Canada, and 14 percent continue to work and volunteer for many years.
Numerous studies show that volunteerism is linked to stronger social networks and improved quality of life. In these times of hiring shortages and unfilled jobs, many seniors are filling a gap in the labour market. And many older people use their many skills to contribute to their communities from helping with facilitation and chairing boards or fundraisers to reviewing HR manuals and teaching computer skills in seniors centres.
Celebrating Canada’s Seniors with Local Events
Honouring our elders can be through personal actions or community-wide. Families can gather to hear their older family members talk about their childhood or young adult memories. A family meal, a game of cards or looking through old photo albums are all ways to spend meaningful time with family.
As CRNs, we may wish to have a small gathering to celebrate our older community members. A few ideas include:
- Host a dinner or lunch for local seniors. Perhaps include a slideshow of attendees favourite photos, play music from bygone days or invite a live entertainer over the age of 65.
- Have a multigenerational event and invite seniors to teach youth a skill, such as baking, crocheting or doing a small woodworking project. It could also be a coffee, tea and snacks gathering with elders telling stories about what they did when they were children and teens.
- Start early and ask your group to nominate a Senior of the Year. This could be someone who volunteers at a local seniors’ serving agency, a business owner, a local athlete or anyone over 65 who they see serving the community in some way.
- Work with the local library to hold a living library book event. Library visitors can spend time with seniors to hear a personal story from their life.
The federal government has published a Do-It-Yourself guide to holding events on National Seniors Day with many other ideas and tips to organize the celebration.
Upcoming National Seniors Day Events
Wednesday, September 27, 2023, 1:00–2:30 PM (EST): The lack of safe, adequate and affordable housing is a pressing issue for older adults. Join Margaret Young, founder of Age Knowble, for a special National Seniors Day panel on Housing Insecurity. Hosted by the Canadian Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse. Register here.
September 29–October 5: Check out the South Island CRN’s event page for a week of celebrating seniors and elders with birdwatching, a jazz performance, movies, art and workshops.
Tuesday, October 2, 2023, 10:00 AM–1:00 PM (EST): “Fulfilling the Promise of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights for Older Persons Across Generations” Commemorating the 33rd year of the International Day of Older Persons, the United Nations is holding this online event to put the spotlight on the needs and human rights of older adults worldwide. The discussion will highlight successes, continued vulnerability and the role of intergenerational relationships in shifting “the needle of political will towards fulfilling the promises of the Declaration for all people across generations.” Register here.
Send us your event for inclusion here and on the events calendar! Afterwards, we’d love to post your stories and photos in BC CRN news.