September is Healthy Aging Month
With more than 10,000 people turning 65 every day in the United States, the Department of Health and Human Services is eager to support your community’s efforts to improve the lives of older adults with a bounty of resources, tools and information through its various agencies. NIHSeniorHealth.gov provides health and wellness information for older adults from the National Institutes of Health. It is a plentiful resource for older adults, friends, families and communities including exercise stories, health videos, and a trainer toolkit for anyone interested in helping older adults. Aging.gov is a resource for information that can help older adults live independent and fulfilling lives. The site provides information on healthy aging, long-term care, social security benefits, Medicare/Medicaid, planning for retirement, state to state resources and more.
Here are some more resources and tools to consider using in your community to improve the lives of older adults.
Go4Life® Will Keep Your Community's Older Adults Moving!
What do weight training, dancing, yoga, and mall walking all have in common? They are all community activities that older adults are participating in around the country, thanks to the national Go4Life®partnership network! Go4Life® is the exercise and physical activity campaign for people 50+ from the National Institute on Aging at the National Institutes of Health.
Go4Life is based on research showing that exercise can help prevent many of the chronic conditions and disability associated with aging and help older adults maintain their independence. Go4Life is trying to make a difference, by providing information and motivational tools to help older adults increase their physical activity and by working with organizations to provide an environment that supports their efforts. Visit the Go4Life website and download free tools and materials designed to get your community moving!
For older adults, consuming a variety of nutrient-packed foods has been linked to reduced risks for developing chronic health conditions. The Administration for Community Living (ACL) has made nutrition its foremost health promotion program. Funded by the Older Americans Act, the Nutrition Programs provide group and home-delivered meals, along with nutrition education and counseling, to vulnerable older adults around the country. Without these meals, many people would miss out on essential nutrients that can promote health and reduce the risk of chronic disease.
In addition to nutrition, a variety of health, fitness, and wellness programs are offered at various venues including senior centers, congregations, and community centers. To find nutrition and other health promotion programs in your community visitwww.eldercare.gov or call 800.677.1116 to locate your local Area Agency on Aging.
Depression and Anxiety are Not a Normal Part of Growing Older
September is Recovery Month and a good time to be reminded that depression and anxiety are true and treatable medical condition, not a normal part of aging. Since older adults are at a higher risk for experiencing depression, it is important to stay active in encouraging positive mental health for older adults.
If you are concerned about a loved one, offer to go with him or her to see a health care provider.
Many older adults see an improvement in their symptoms as soon as they start to address it. Depression and anxiety can be treated with anti-depression drugs, psychotherapy, or a combination of both. Other proven interventions include:
Visit RecoveryMonth.gov to for tools to launch a dialogue in your congregations and communities about seniors and depression, anxiety and other mental illnesses.
Brain Health Resources
The Brain Health Resource is a presentation toolkit offering current, evidence-based information and resources to facilitate conversations with older people about brain health as we age. It is a collaborative effort between the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institutes of Health designed for use in community settings.
- Brain Health Basics: Learn and teach others about the risks related to brain health and how to reduce them.
- Brain Injury: Learn and teach others about how to prevent brain injury and how to get help if you do have one.
- Dementia: Learn how to create “dementia-capable” long-term services and supports at the state and local levels to help people who have Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia.
Affordable Care Act: Opportunities for the Aging Network
The Administration for Community Living (ACL) hosts a web-resource that highlightsprogram and funding opportunities within the Affordable Care Act that create opportunities for older adults.
Staying Connected to Your Community
Staying involved in your community contribute to a long, productive, and meaningful life. Senior Corps connects adults 55+ with the people and organizations that need them most. They become mentors, coaches or companions to people in need, or contribute their job skills and expertise to community projects and organizations. Volunteers receive guidance and training so they can make a contribution that suits their talents, interests, and availability. Find opportunities now!
Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP) is a community service and work-based job training program for low-income, unemployed older Americans. SCSEP participants gain work experience in a variety of community service activities at non-profit and public facilities, including schools, hospitals, day-care centers, and senior centers. The program provides over 40 million community service hours to public and non-profit agencies, allowing them to enhance and provide needed services. Use the America’s Service Locator to find SCSEP programs in your area.