Memorial Day is a special and poignant day set aside to honor and remember those individuals who died while serving the United States in a military capacity. It is a day designated so that the rest of us can show our respect and honor and reflect on the sacrifices paid by military personnel to defend our country’s freedoms. Memorial Day activities range from serious ceremonies to patriotic picnics.

Memorial Day activities
While the day has somber overtones, many people consider Memorial Day the unofficial start of the summer season. There are often barbecues, picnics, parades, and beach gatherings on this day. Because assisted living and memory care centers have many residents who served (or had friends and family members who served) in U.S. wars, Memorial Day is special to them.

If you have a loved one in assisted living, ask the staff if you can help them to host Memorial Day events for all residents to enjoy. Here are some ways to celebrate Memorial Day while honoring their lost loved ones.

Keep in mind when planning events here in Florida – by late May, the sun is glaring, and the heat is rising. When you go outside on any excursion with the elderly, provide shade and plenty of hydration. Look for signs of dehydration and heat stroke in order to keep them safe.

Flag Raising:The younger generation may not have grown up with respect for the American flag, but our seniors have an enduring respect for this important symbol. There is nothing more patriotic for many than remembering those who gave their lives for our nation, and no better symbol of that remembrance than the American flag. Start Memorial Day with your loved one by hosting a flag-raising ceremony and inviting all community residents. Fly the flag at half-staff until noon, then raise it to the top of the staff until sundown.

Moment of Silence: Gather assisted living residents together for a Moment of Remembrance, celebrated across the country at 3 pm. This moment of national unity can include a short tribute and playing the “Taps” bugle call. You can ask residents if anyone would like to deliver the address or play the bugle.

Flag Waving Cookout: Just because a day is serious does not mean that people cannot enjoy their time together. Take advantage of the beautiful Florida weather and host a patriotic cookout. Encourage residents to wear their red, white, and blue while enjoying traditional American fare. Provide small flags and encourage the singing of patriotic songs.

Make Arts & Crafts: Patriotic crafts are fun for everyone. All you need is a few simple craft materials to encourage patriotism and creativity in assisted living residents. You might create containers for small gardens, patriotic wreaths, or red, white, and blue tye dye shirts. you can also make small wreaths to lay on gravesites at a local cemetery.

Visit a Cemetery: Memorial Day was once known as Decoration Day, a day set aside for people to decorate the graves of fallen soldiers. Many assisted living residents would appreciate the opportunity to visit a cemetery as a part of their Memorial Day activities to honor fallen brothers and sisters. Arrange a bus trip for residents to visit a local military landmark or soldier’s cemetery to lay the wreaths they made at the earlier picnic.

At A Banyan Residence, we honor our residents who served – and recognize that Memorial Day represents a somber opportunity to remember their friends and family who never made it home.

A Banyan Residence is an assisted living and memory care facility based in Venice, Florida.