To the brave men and women who served in the U.S. Armed Forces, we honor you and your families this Veterans Day… and every day.

Veteran’s Day is on November 11th. There are 9.2 million veterans age 65 and older, who are beyond deserving of recognition and appreciation for their service. Here are several purposeful ways to celebrate this special time with a veteran loved one.

Accompany the veteran to a Veterans Day parade, a luncheon or a national park.

Parades are usually the biggest and most colorful way to spend the day. Many restaurants offer a free meal for ex-service members. A National park is a fun place to enjoy nice fall weather. The parks have free entry on this day.

Enjoy a special family gathering at home.

Raise a flag, tell family stories, play games and sing patriotic songs. It’s okay for family and friends to ask your veteran loved one to tell his or her favorite military stories.

This can be a touchy subject, but the key is to be thoughtful with your questions. Your loved one will say as much as he or she feels comfortable. Search here for a list of questions you can ask and questions you may want to hold off on asking.

Seek out a veteran at home.

Offering your time is a small sacrifice to pay, especially for someone who may not be able to get around as much. Loneliness is a growing concern among older adults that can lead to increased health risks. Companionship will add a meaningful emotional contact for you and the veteran.

You may take over a home-cooked meal, help to mow the lawn, run errands, or simply sit with the veteran and enjoy a favorite movie or television show.

Be familiar with the difference between Veterans Day (honoring those who served) and Memorial Day (honoring those who passed away while in the service). Avoid wishing a former service member “Happy Memorial Day,” when he or she is still very much with us.

 Visit a senior veteran in senior housing.

Senior living communities have a variety of special activities to celebrate Veterans Day. Many of the residents welcome the chance to socialize and share their experiences. Check out what’s happening at your neighborhood assisted living or other senior housing community. Be sure to wear your favorite red, white and blue and bring along a game, photos, or home-baked goodies.

Help a veteran check with the Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) for any unclaimed benefits.

Aid and Attendance is one such financial benefit that is often overlooked. This benefit assists veterans 65 and older, or a surviving spouse to pay for care in the home or senior housing.

If an older veteran is considering senior housing, you may contact a trusted senior living advisor with Allegro Senior Living for answers to basic VA benefits questions. Or, seek help from a VA-accredited veteran advocate known as a Veteran Service Officer (VSO).

If time and distance don’t allow you to spend time with a veteran loved one in person, consider reaching out in other ways:

  • Phone
  • Letter
  • Care package
  • Card
  • Photos
  • Email
  • Facetime

As we approach November 11, Veterans Day, taking ten minutes or ten hours to recognize how much someone who served means to you can make a positive difference in your loved one’s life, and yours too.

What’s one way you can think of to honor a veteran this Veterans Day?

Allegro Senior Living communities are busy preparing to honor veterans on Veterans Day. Check out your local community to find out what activities are available.