Observing Juneteenth with Seniors

While some may have only just learned about Juneteenth when President Joe Biden signed a bill making it a federal holiday in 2021, it is not a new holiday. Also known as Freedom Day, Jubilee Day, or Emancipation Day, Juneteenth celebrates the date that all enslaved people were finally freed in Galveston, Texas. It took two years for news of the Emancipation Proclamation to reach the entire country, making June 19, 1865, an important day in American history.

To many Americans, Juneteenth holds the same significance as the Fourth of July. As a result, it should receive the same level of celebration! If you’re observing Juneteenth with seniors, consider some of these activities to celebrate the history and Black culture.

Observing Juneteenth with Seniors

Celebrate with a cookout

Just like most summer celebrations in the United States, Juneteenth is best celebrated with a classic cookout. On this holiday, however, the food serves more of a purpose than to be delicious. Red foods, such as watermelon and red velvet cake, represent resilience. Dishes like cornbread and collard greens represent good fortune and wealth. Enjoy these dishes alongside your favorite, traditional barbeque dishes.

When hosting a cookout, remember to have plenty of space for your elderly loved one to sit. They should also be able to escape the sun as necessary. If you and your loved one are attending a cookout, consider bringing a lawn chair for your loved one to ensure they have a comfortable place to rest.

Attend local events

Since Juneteenth was officially recognized as a federal holiday, opportunities to celebrate have been slim thanks to the global pandemic. This year, however, people across America are free to attend events in their area—and Chicago is no exception. From street fairs to parades, there is something those of every age can enjoy.

It may be better for your loved one to attend these events at an earlier hour. It will be easier for them to be out and about before the heat of the day sets in. Keep that in mind as you make other plans for the day.

Celebrate the history behind Juneteenth this year

Visit a museum exhibition or historical site

If you know your elderly loved one wouldn’t enjoy the hustle and bustle that comes from a street fair, but they still want to celebrate, there are plenty of options for them. Instead, honor this significant day by visiting sites dedicated to important Black historical figures, as there are plenty across the city. To get out of the sun, visit a museum with an exhibition celebrating Juneteenth or featuring Black artists.

Learn about the history

Of course, a day of this historical significance wouldn’t be complete if you and your loved one didn’t recognize the importance of the day. At some point in the day, take time to educate yourselves on the history surrounding the events. Consider picking up one of the many books on the topic, such as Juneteenth by Ralph Ellison, watching a documentary, or simply doing some of your own research.

If your loved one needs additional help at home, consider a caregiver

For some seniors, even thinking about going out to celebrate any holiday is stressful when activities like personal care have grown to be difficult. Tending to one’s personal needs—such as dressing, meal preparation, or remembering to take one’s medication— can be daunting. If this seems to be the case for your elderly loved one, call upon the help of an at-home caregiver.

Home Care Powered by AUAF has 30 years of experience providing seniors the support they need in the Chicago area, and we would be happy to support your loved one too. For more information on our services, give us a call at 773-274-9262.

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