National Senior Citizen Day: Why should you care?

By Doug Bardwell, Red Cross volunteer

What, you’re not a senior citizen? Stay with me, as I bet you know one . . . or two.

When President Reagan signed Proclamation 5847 in 1988, he set the date as August 21 to be celebrated as National Senior Citizen Day. He proclaimed the date to raise awareness of issues that affect senior citizens, including quality of life.

One of the best things you can do for a senior is to make sure they stay busy. Tests have shown that the more a person stretches their mind to learn new tasks or talents, the sharper they will be in their later years. It’s also a known fact that social interaction is important to seniors— especially if they live alone.

Wouldn’t you know it – the American Red Cross has the perfect solution for both recommended strategies. Volunteers are needed in all sorts of fields, and the Red Cross will be happy to train seniors in anything they choose to take part in. There are opportunities to go out and about the community as well as those that can be done by someone homebound.

Red Cross Volunteer Doug Bardwell – Tennessee

Interested in sitting and chatting with new people?

The Blood Ambassador position could be a perfect fit. You could be engaging with the community at a registration table at a local blood drive. There are dozens of blood drives every day in different neighborhoods, so there’s likely one a few minutes from their home. Volunteer as many days as you like. Watch video to learn more.

Interested in driving?

The Red Cross could use your past professional training to help teach life-saving skills or deliver medical or spiritual care to those in need.

Interested in humanitarian assistance?

You hit the bonanza here. Opportunities abound to:

  • Drive to local neighborhoods to provide financial assistance to those who’ve experienced a home fire. (Don’t worry about the money. The Red Cross provides that – you just hand it out.) Watch video.
  • Help pass out water and snack at large community events or to first responders at disaster events.
  • Make phone calls as a caseworker to provide follow-up care to those who are trying to pull their lives back together after a fire or other disaster.
  • Help assemble self-help pamphlets and toiletry kits for disaster victims.
  • Teach fire safety at local schools with the Pillowcase Project for third through fifth graders. Learn more.
  • Assist at a disaster shelter or warming center, serving any of three meals a day to those without shelter. Watch video.
  • From home, help families reconnect during natural disasters by working with the Red Cross Family Reunification Network. Watch video.

Actually, there are so many more opportunities beyond the ones mentioned above. How about a quiz to see what’s available near you? Take quiz. Then, start the volunteer process here and make being a senior citizen both rewarding and life-changing for the better.

Edited by Glenda Bogar, Red Cross volunteer

Posted by Ryan Lang, Red Cross volunteer

Finding Family Following Hurricane Maria

Many Northeast Ohio residents are concerned about loved ones in Puerto Rico.

Hurricane Harvey 2017

The American Red Cross Safe and Well website is a free public reunification tool
that allows individuals and organizations to register and post messages to
indicate that they are safe, or to search for loved ones. The site is always
available and open to the public and available in Spanish. Registrations and
searches can be done directly on the website. Registrations can also be
completed by texting SAFE to 78876. Messages exist in both Spanish and
English.

To speak with someone at the American Red Cross concerning a
missing friend or relative who has a serious, pre-existing health or mental health
condition, please call 1-800 RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).

Recent disasters, like Hurricane Maria and the earthquake in Mexico, have left
many across the world looking for their loved ones, and the Red Cross is here to
help.

If you are looking for a U.S. citizen affected by recent international disasters,
please contact the U.S. Department of State Office of Overseas Citizens
Services at 1-888-407-4747 or go online at
https://travel.state.gov/content/passports/en/emergencies.html

If you live in the United States and are looking for non-U.S. citizen family
members affected by Hurricane Maria in the French and Dutch territories, and
British Virgin Islands, please visit www.familylinks.icrc.org to find more
information.

If you are seeking information about non-U.S. citizen family members in Mexico
who have been missing since the recent earthquake, please visit
www.redcross.org/FamilyLinks, or call the American Red Cross Restoring Family
Links Helpline at 844-782-9441.

During and after large, devastating disasters such as Hurricane Maria,
connectivity can be a challenge. If you’ve put a request in with American Red
Cross or the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies,
please continue to virtually reach out to your friends and family.

Keep trying to reach out by calling during off-peak hours, and continue to send
text messages and emails. Continually check social media for updates.

Contact other family members or neighbors who live nearby who may be able to
provide you with information