On November 11th each year, individuals who have served in the armed forces gather to thank one another and remember those who have passed away. This event, known as Veteran's Day, is often a special time for senior veterans. While many don't talk about their time in the Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force or Coast Guard, this celebration provides a chance for them to get together and be with others who had similar experiences. You can honor your senior loved one on this date with these ideas:
Take the senior to a parade/event
Just about every town has a gathering for community veterans on this day. Many host parades where local members of armed forces dress in their formal uniforms and walk through the streets. Other citizens line the sidewalks to clap and show their respect and gratitude for the veterans' service. Senior veterans may ride on floats or military vehicles to reduce mobility issues, but some choose to walk. Friends and family may even stroll the parade route with their loved one or in honor of a veteran who has passed away. Ask your senior vet if he or she would like to partake in an event like this. If so, contact the local organization that is running the gathering and see how you two can get involved.
View photos from the person's days in the service
There are likely photographs of your veteran loved one in uniform. While some memories associated with serving are not ones seniors want to bring up, there are plenty of good times to talk about too. Many vets have fond recollections of the people they served and went to boot camp with. Seniors may want to share some photos of these occasions and tell stories about the individuals in the shots. You may learn your dad or grandpa was a prankster in boot camp or hear about the horrible prepackaged rations in Vietnam. These are stories to cherish and pass on to future generations.
Go visit the senior
While your senior loved one may be a vet, that doesn't mean he or she wants to celebrate Veteran's Day. Some people who served would prefer to leave that time of their lives in the past. Or, some are in memory care and have dementia or Alzheimer's and aren't in a position to remember when they served. You can still honor these individuals by visiting them on Veteran's Day. You don't have to talk about the holiday or the past – just get together and enjoy one another's company. Bring along a homecooked meal or get together at the assisted living community's dining room for nutritious, delicious options there. Take a walk together, watch a movie or play games together. Just being with one another is a great way to show your gratitude for the senior's time in the service.