November 11th is Remembrance Day: an opportunity to reflect, learn more about our history and recognize the sacrifices made by so many with the ultimate goal of achieving peace. For many of the younger generation here in Canada, war is something that feels distant or long ago—but for others, it’s been a reality of life. Many seniors have memories of growing up during times of conflict, and some even served in the military. If you’d like to speak to your aging loved ones about Remembrance Day or help them honour those lost to war, here are a few suggestions and guiding principles.
Ask them how they feel
Before getting too deep into a conversation about Remembrance Day, ask your aging loved one how the day makes them feel. Did they live through war or serve in the military? If so, what does Remembrance Day mean to them? If they haven’t experienced war, does this day remind them of a parent or grandparent who did? Does Remembrance Day stir up difficult feelings or carry strong emotional significance? Let them lead the discussion if they’re willing, and focus on listening to whatever they have to say.
Give them an opportunity to share memories
If you know that your aging loved one served in the military or lived through war, you may want to ask some gentle questions about what they remember and how they’d like to recognize Remembrance Day. However, even if they didn’t experience war directly, they may have interesting stories that were passed on to them by older family members (a parent, grandparent or uncle, for example). Ask them if any of their relatives served in the military, and how they’d like to honour that person’s service and/or memory on Remembrance Day. You may end up learning a lot about your family history!
Consider attending a local event
If your aging loved one would like to recognize Remembrance Day by attending a local event in honour of fallen soldiers, here’s a comprehensive list of Remembrance Day ceremonies in the Toronto area. You can also reach out to your local Canadian Legion to inquire about their annual event and get a poppy. Many Remembrance Day ceremonies are accessible, but it’s best to confirm this if your loved one uses a wheelchair, walker or other mobility device. And if getting out to an event in person isn’t possible, many Remembrance Day ceremonies will be streamed online or shown live on television. Thanks for reading—we hope this information was helpful to you and your family.