Keiro No Hi (“Respect for the Aged Day”) is a Japanese tradition where we honor older adults. This holiday occurs every third Monday of September. Japanese culture is well-known for the respect shown to the elders– it has always been tradition to respect those who are older than us due to their wisdom, knowledge, and experiences. Although the cultural belief of “respecting older adults” has been around for a long time, this national holiday started in 1966.
This year, Keiro No Hi will be held on Monday, September 14th. (Time to celebrate!)
Address them properly:
- Remember that older adults are “older” than you; therefore you will need to treat them with respect. Always start by addressing them as “Mr.”, “Ms.” or “Mrs.” and their last name (if the person is Japanese, last name plus “san”). Don’t assume that you can call them by their first name or a nickname, unless they tell you it’s okay.
- You want to speak clearly, without using “slang” phrases that you may use with your friends.
Use non-verbal communication:
- For older adults who are hard of hearing especially, it is helpful to communicate with them through non-verbal communication as well, including eye contact and gestures.
- Don’t we all feel great when someone offers to help? If you see an older adult having trouble getting around, carrying grocery bags or getting something at the market, just offer to help! The worst thing that could ever happen is that they might say “no,” but the offer is always appreciated.
Talk to them – listen to their stories:
- Older adults have so many great life stories that include things we never knew about. Learn about their life, their struggles, their accomplishments, their stories – because it is a truly amazing experience learning about others.
How do you honor the older adults in your life? Please share with me in the comments below.
About the Author:
Mei Kameda is the Program Coordinator at Keiro. She graduated from California State University, Long Beach with a Bachelor of Science degree in Community Health Science (option in Community Health Education) and a minor in Communication Studies. In her spare time, Mei enjoys going on runs, baking, and volunteering which are a few of the many activities that allow her to live her life on purpose.
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