“Where were you when history was made?” is an excellent question to spark a conversation with an elder. More specifically, “Where were you when we landed on the moon?” July 20th is National Moon Day. This year, Moon Day corresponds with the 50th anniversary of the moon landing in 1969. Many seniors were present for this moment of history and can provide a wealth of knowledge about the event and this era to younger loved ones.
“One small step”
In the 1950s the United States and Russia were embroiled in a geo-political rivalry known as the Cold War. In 1957, Russia launched the Sputnik satellite and four years later in April 1961 made cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin the first human in space. Wanting the United States to lead instead of follow, on May 25, 1961, President John F. Kennedy announced to Congress that he wanted to send an American safely to the moon by the end of the decade. Eight years later, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) fulfilled Kennedy’s goal with the Apollo 11 mission. On July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong, along with Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin and Michael Collins, became the first to walk on the moon. This became a significant moment in United States history, as it symbolized not only America’s victory over Russia in the “Space Race,” but also the ingenuity and triumph of the human species.
Celebrating National Moon Day by celebrating nostalgia
Caregiving is not only about keeping elder’s physical body strong, but also their spirit. One way to do so is using nostalgia. “Nostalgia is the warm, fuzzy emotion that we feel when we think about fond memories from our past.” Through nostalgia, seniors can boost their sense of social connectedness, self-esteem, and “feel closer to loved ones.” It also provides an opportunity to share experiences and personal histories of the past. Here are ways seniors can utilize their nostalgia to celebrate National Moon Day:
- Convene a group discussion: Seniors and senior care providers can discuss the moon landing and where they were the moment Americans landed on the moon. This is sure to be an engaging conversation where elders can share memories of their youth.
- Visit a local science center: Educational institutions are sure to have well-researched exhibits commemorating the moon landing. This would be an opportunity for seniors to gather or for youth to bond with an older loved one.
- Watch space movies: There are numerous movies related to the moon landing from which to choose. Gather family and friends and enjoy one or more of these motion pictures and discuss if they are accurate portrayals of the era.
- Take a (virtual) trip to NASA: To commemorate the 50th anniversary of the moon landing, NASA restored the original mission control center in Houston, Texas. This could make for an educational day trip if near NASA; or a fun way to explore NASA online.
If you are considering senior care in Herndon, VA, for an elderly loved one, please contact the caring staff at Home Helpers Home Care in Leesburg. (703) 297-4642.