09/24/2013 01:32 pm ET Updated Nov 24, 2013

3 Reasons (and Ways) to Love an Elder

October 1st is the United Nations International Day to Honor Older Persons and the New York State Assembly has now declared the day to be another special occasion -- the first official Love an Elder Day. Love an Elder Day was piloted last year by LifeForce in Later Years (LiLY) as a local NYC event, but there is no reason that people across the country can't all take some time for an elder on this day.

Too many of our senior citizens live in quiet isolation, poverty or are struggling with complicated medical issues. They are often unseen and thus forgotten by those of us rushing through our complicated days. Join us in taking some time to honor an elder.

Three reasons to honor an elder:

1. We are all in debt to an older person. These are the people who taught us how to read and write, tie our shoes, cross the street, ride a bike and eat with a spoon.

2. Frail, elderly people often need some assistance to remain living in the homes they love. Let's assist them in their quest to live with dignified independence.

3. Our eldercare system is not comprehensive and many families are far flung, often living hundreds or even thousands of miles away from each other. This can lead to loneliness and social isolation at a time in life when an individual's support system needs to be especially strong.

So, what can you do to honor an elder?

1. Introduce yourself to an elderly neighbor and ask if they need a little help. Sometimes simple things like running an errand or changing a lightbulb can be extraordinarily helpful.

2. If you have a special elder in your life, call to chat or visit or meet for coffee. Sit and listen -- you might be surprised by what you can learn.

3. To learn more about giving back to the special older people in your life, visit