We are a nation of givers — generously giving time, energy and resources to benefit individuals less fortunate.
It's a great American tradition to take time to reflect on and give thanks for the blessings of health, freedom, personal and financial security, family and friends.
In November — the month of Thanksgiving — we also commemorate Veterans Day to show our gratitude to our veterans for their service. It's also National Caregivers Month, a time to appreciate and thank those who take care of family members, often allowing them to remain at home rather than live in an institution.
As the month draws to a close, we shift our attention to the excitement of the upcoming holidays. Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday are energy-filled windows of shopping and spending, focused generally on family and friends we know well. While this is a good and valuable activity, far too often we lose sight of the ongoing struggles of those less fortunate than we are.
I'd like to make a suggestion to our AARP family. Perhaps, in the midst of our end-of-November shopping, we should insert a "Senior Sunday," when each of us commits to doing something for and with a senior, whether that person is in our family, community or elsewhere.
Why? Because social isolation is a killer. It's the trigger for a myriad of health problems, nagging loneliness and even, sadly, suicide. At AARP, we try to look at all the connections that make up a person's life and to come up with ways to help keep those connections strong, even in times of stress and crisis.
What can you do? Take someone to the movies or dinner; be the "chauffeur" for housebound seniors to visit with friends they haven't seen in a while; take them for a walk; help with some household chores that they can no longer do; put their favorite photos on a digital frame so they will have their happiest memories moving before them; spend time with them and find out how you and your family can help brighten their holiday season and the cold lonely winter months ahead.
Be creative, be innovative — be involved.