Older Americans Month - Four Things to Think About
Later life is often referred to as “the golden years,” but the truth is that this time can also be fraught with worries. May heralds the arrival of “Older American Month" (OAM), along with the opportunity to shine a light on some critical concerns facing older individuals. In honor of our loved ones, we’re sharing four things to think about that can help your loved one through the aging process.
1. Financial Security
The rising cost of living, combined with the high cost of healthcare, can squeeze limited retirement budgets. Older adults may struggle with making ends meet in order to enjoy the same standard of living. While budgeting is one useful technique for trimming costs, taking advantage of senior deals and discounts can also make a surprisingly significant dent in expenses. Worried about making mom or dad’s finances last in light of rising healthcare costs? As your loved one ages, talk to a financial advisor who specializes in managing/maintaining funds for older adults each step of the way. Not sure who to call? Ask around! A local attorney, real estate agent, senior center, or senior living professional can point you in the right direction. Also - be sure your loved one can recognize scams and other financial threats that target older adults.
2. Physical Aging
People enjoy better health and are living longer than ever before. Still, seniors face a number of health concerns -- from disease to age-related changes, such as vision and hearing loss. Regular checkups are an important part of maintaining ongoing health. When possible, encouraging your aging loved one to eat right and exercise is a great way to keep seniors strong. (May 25th is National Senior Health and Fitness Day -- keep an eye out for events related to this observation.) Take advantage of free health screenings when possible and talk to your loved one’s physician about creating an exercise routine that can help your loved one stay active and mobile. Would a membership to the local YMCA or fitness center be a good idea?
3. Mental Health
Loneliness, isolation and depression are very real threats to older adults. Unfortunately, the loss of loved ones and mobility-related changes can leave seniors feeling alone and adrift. Making sure older adults have opportunities for socialization and connection can support health and wellbeing. From informal lunch dates to membership in a local senior center, there are many ways to keep older adults engaged with family, friends and fellow community members. Pets can also provide invaluable companionship.
And while many seniors are wary of technology, introducing them to computers and “smart” technology can help them stay connected with everything from social networking to FaceTime. Did you know that the fastest growing demographic on Facebook is now older adults ages 55+?
4. Mobility Issues
Aging is often accompanied by mobility changes and a loss of independence. From no longer being able to do small tasks in the home to larger struggles such as giving up driving, aging is a huge adjustment. Many of the latest adaptive technologies are designed to help older adults manage their day-to-day tasks. Using a cane, walker, or other assistive device can make a world of difference for your loved one when it comes to walking and mobility, especially when heading out and about. Making sure transportation is available, meanwhile, can make handing over the car keys a little less stressful for your loved one.
The theme of this year’s Older Americans Month is “Blaze a Trail.” Caregivers can take on invaluable roles and advocate for aging loved ones to help them overcome obstacles and blaze a trail toward making the most out of their golden years.
- Caregivers can take steps to help seniors enjoy happier, healthier “golden years.”
- May is a terrific time to step up and make a difference during the observation of “Older Americans Month.”
- Whether you help your aging loved one overcome a specific physical setback or take proactive steps toward fostering a more vibrant social network, there are many ways to contribute to the health and wellbeing of seniors.
About Marissa Salvesen
My journey into the world of senior living began when I started working for United Methodist Homes in 2010. Starting as an Activities Director at one of our-winning assisted and independent living communities and then transitioning to Marketing and Promotions Manager for UMH, I now work as the Manager of Mission Development, fostering the Mission and Values of our organization. I love sharing stories about the many ways we build meaningful relationships and enrich the lives of those we serve, and am proud to be part of building UMH’s 140-year legacy of caring. Wondering what makes our communities such special places to live and work? Connect with me and find out!
Our Blog is a 2016 Platinum Generations Award Winner! The Generations Award is an annual international competition for excellence in senior marketing recognizing professionals who have communicated to the 50+ Mature Markets.