World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD) was launched by the International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse and the World Health Organization at the United Nations. The purpose of WEAAD is to provide an opportunity for communities around the world to promote a better understanding of abuse and neglect of older persons by raising awareness of the cultural, social, economic and demographic processes affecting elder abuse and neglect.
Every year on June 15, World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD) is commemorated in America and around the world. Through WEAAD, we raise awareness about the millions of older adults who experience elder abuse, neglect, and financial exploitation. As many as 1 in 10 older Americans are abused or neglected each year and only 1 in 14 cases of elder abuse ever comes to the attention of authorities. Older Americans are vital, contributing members of our society and their abuse or neglect diminishes all of us. WEAAD reminds us that, as in a just society, all of us have a critical role to play to focus attention on elder justice.
The Administration for Community Living (ACL), along with federal and aging partners, invite you to join them in Lifting up Voices for World Elder Abuse Awareness Day 2019, a theme that is centered on unifying the shared values of elder justice and responding to violence against women to bring to the forefront the lived experiences of older people around the globe. This year, we invite you to join us and other organizations and communities across the country in using the collection of special Lifting up Voices outreach and campaign tools (including an action guide with sample social media posts and graphics), incorporating the Lifting up Voices theme in your community.
The National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA) serves as a national resource center dedicated to engaging and empowering older people so that they may be an advocate for themselves and their communities. We recognize that it is up to all of us, as a community to ensure the right social structures are in place so people can remain connected to their communities and to society as a whole, reducing the likelihood of abuse. Through evidence based policies, initiatives, education and civic engagement, we can create a sturdy social structure that can support us as we grow older. First established by the U.S. Administration on Aging (AoA) in 1988 as a national elder abuse resource center, the NCEA was granted a permanent home at AoA in the 1992 amendments made to Title II of the Older Americans Act.
To carry out its mission, the NCEA disseminates elder abuse information to professionals and the public, and provides technical assistance and training to states and to community-based organizations. The NCEA:
- Makes news and resources available on-line and an easy-to-use format;
- Collaborates on research;
- Provides training;
- Identifies and provides information about promising practices and interventions;
- Operates a listserve forum for professionals;
- Provides subject matter expertise on program development.
Please check out the just released Walking Clubs Toolkit from Go4Life which provides tips and techniques to help start and sustain a walking club for adults 50+. Walking is a wonderful way for older adults to be physically active! It’s easy, it’s free, it’s relatively risk-free, and it doesn’t require costly equipment, a gym membership, or training. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more people than ever are walking for physical activity. Walking is the most popular aerobic activity.
Walking is great exercise and when done briskly over time, it can build endurance—helping older adults walk farther, faster, or uphill. It also may make everyday activities such as gardening, shopping, or playing a sport easier. The goal is to achieve at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity endurance activity on most, if not all, days of the week.
Benefits of Walking Clubs
By starting a walking club, you are offering numerous benefits to older adults.
- Health Benefits! When done regularly, walking at a brisk pace may offer these benefits:
- lower the risk of high blood pressure
- strengthen bones and muscles
- burn more calories
- lift moods
- Accountability! Membership in a walking club may motivate older adults to stick with this form of exercise because they know others are counting on their participation.
- Social connections! The social connections made in walking clubs can also offer older people a sense of wellbeing, emotional mental health, and a way to avoid a decline in overall health that can come with loneliness and depression (PDF, 2.6MB).
- Safety in numbers! A walking club may also provide a way to be active for older adults who are reluctant to walk alone.
This Go4Life Walking Clubs Toolkit provides tips for those interested in starting and sustaining a walking club for older adults. The recommendations presented here were obtained from a variety of trusted sources at the National Institutes of Health, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the US Surgeon General, and our national and local Go4Life partners with expertise in developing and conducting walking clubs. A list of these resources may be found under the “Helpful Resources” section of this toolkit.
The toolkit incorporates the ideas and suggestions of partners who volunteered for the Go4Life Walking Clubs mini-project last fall, and it’s a wonderful example of partner collaboration and input!
The following Go4Life partners provided input into the development of this toolkit.
Please consider using the toolkit as a guide to start a walking club in your community. In fact, starting a club might be a great way to mark Go4Life Month in September.
Are you a caregiver providing support for a spouse, friend, or relative? As we say in the Family Caregiver ESSENTIALS™ course, taking care of yourself is one of the most important things you can do as a caregiver. Even though it can be a challenge, take sure you are making time for yourself, eating healthy foods, and being active. Finding some time for regular exercise can be very important to your overall physical and mental well-being.
Physical activity can help reduce feelings of depression and stress and help you improve your health and prevent chronic diseases. Making a plan and getting exercise onto the schedule with all the other activities can help make it happen.
Here are some ways for caregivers to be physically active:
- Take exercise breaks throughout the day. Try three 10-minute “mini-workouts” instead of 30 minutes all at once, especially to get the reminder of its importance.
- Make an appointment with yourself to exercise. Set aside specific times and days of the week for physical activity.
- Exercise with a friend and get the added benefit of emotional support.
- Ask for help at home so you can exercise. Getting the respite for yourself is invaluable.
- If possible, find ways to be active with the person you’re caring for. Both of you can benefit from physical activity!
Time to move in the right direction this spring season! Here are some ideas to get you started.
- Now that spring is here, it’s a great time to get outside. Try these fun activities from Go4Life to get moving that won’t cost you a dime.
- Spring is a great time to get outdoors! Find new, safe, fun activities fromGo4Life.
Every May, the Administration for Community Living leads the nation’s observance of Older Americans Month (OAM). The 2019 theme, Connect, Create, Contribute, encourages older adults and their communities to:
- Connect with friends, family, and services that support participation.
- Create by engaging in activities that promote learning, health, and personal enrichment.
- Contribute time, talent, and life experience to benefit others.
When Older Americans Month was established in 1963, only 17 million living Americans had reached their 65th birthday. About a third of older Americans lived in poverty and there were few programs to meet their needs. Interest in older Americans and their concerns was growing. A meeting in April 1963 between President John F. Kennedy and members of the National Council of Senior Citizens led to designating May as “Senior Citizens Month,” the prelude to “Older Americans Month.”
Historically, Older Americans Month has been a time to acknowledge the contributions of past and current older persons to our country, in particular those who defended our country. Every President since Kennedy has issued a formal proclamation during or before the month of May asking that the entire nation pay tribute in some way to older persons in their communities. Older Americans Month is celebrated across the country through ceremonies, events, fairs, and other such activities.
Communities that encourage the contributions of older adults are stronger! By engaging and supporting all community members, we recognize that older adults play a key role in the vitality of our neighborhoods, networks, and lives.
Throughout the month of May 2019, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Community Living (ACL) website https://acl.gov/oam/2019/older-americans-month-2019 will promote #OAM19 with materials to help you #ConnectCreateContribute.
Age Safe® America is proud to recognize the important contributions this specialized healthcare modality provides; and all the Occupational Therapists we have had the pleasure to of worked with over the years. Occupational Therapy Month began in 1980 to correspond with the annual conference and expo for The American Occupational Therapy Association.
According to the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), occupational therapy is the only profession that helps people across the lifespan to do the things they want and need to do through the therapeutic use of daily activities (occupations). Occupational Therapy practitioners enable people of all ages to live life to its fullest by helping them promote health and prevent, or live better with, injury, illness, or disability. The AOTA defines occupational therapy as the therapeutic use of everyday life activities (occupations) with individuals or groups for the purpose of participation in roles and situations in home, school, workplace, community, and other settings. Occupational therapy addresses the physical, cognitive, psychosocial, sensory, and other aspects of performance in a variety of contexts to support engagement in everyday life activities that affect health, well-being, and quality of life.
When injury strikes or long term wear of joints and muscles require rehabilitation, an Occupational Therapist provides the necessary exercises to get us back into our daily routines. Simply getting out of bed may be a challenge or moving from one position to another becomes a problem we need to overcome. Occupational Therapists have studied the movements required to make these transitions happen safely and to retrain our newly repaired body part to do the job. They know the therapies to help improve weakened muscles and alternatives when others fail us. For every age and ability, Occupational Therapists provide care to improve the quality of life to each patient.
Common Occupational Therapy interventions include helping children with disabilities to participate fully in school and social situations, helping people recovering from injury to regain skills, and providing support for older adults experiencing physical and cognitive changes.
We join in dedicating the month of April to thanking all Occupational Therapy practitioners who are committed to bettering the lives of their patients and especially those dedicated to our aging population. The important work that they do helps older Americans to remain safe and independent, and pursue the activities that are important to them, which would be difficult to accomplish otherwise.
Find more info on www.aota.org
Aging safely – Prevent falls and help maintain independence
Falls are unpredictable for nearly everyone, but more so for people age 65 and older. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than one-third of people in this age category fall each year. In addition, those who fall once are two to three times more likely to fall again. Injuries from falls are responsible for significant disability, loss of independence and reduced quality of life.
If you are an older adult (or provide care for a family member who is), fall intervention studies* show that preventive steps like home modification and exercise-based activities can help prevent falls and maintain independence.
Preventing falls is especially important as autumn turns into winter — the most notorious season for accidental falls due to ice and snow in some areas of the country and greater inactivity. Follow these safety tips for making your home, property and yourself safer:
- Safeguard your home by removing throw rugs, electrical cords and paper piles that could trip you up.
- Keep your driveway and sidewalks clear of leaves and other debris that could cause you to trip during the fall months. Repair cracks, lips or dips.
- Once winter arrives, consider hiring a snow removal service or a neighbor to shovel your sidewalk, steps and driveway if it snows where you live. Spread rock salt, grit or sand to help prevent slips and falls.
- Use shoe traction devices when walking outside in ice and snow.
- Have your pharmacist review all your medications several times a year to check for potential interactions that could trigger dizziness.
- Get your eyes checked. Impaired vision contributes to falls.
Staying as active as possible is another way to prevent falls. Seniors who are less active during the fall and winter seasons experience higher levels of instability. Activity helps you to maintain balance and build muscle strength. Here are some tips:
- Move your walking regimen indoors to continue it year-round. Fitness clubs and shopping malls are great places to keep moving.
- Build core muscle strength and strengthen your thigh muscles by exercising or attending fitness classes. Weakness from underuse of the quads and lack of physical strength are major contributors to falls.
- Learn about safe ways to fall (read “Avoid injuries from a fall”). Being aware of safer ways to fall may lessen the impact should a fall occur. Start by consulting a physical therapist or martial arts instructor who studies the effects of falls for their advice on safe falling techniques.
You can find more fall prevention and safety tips on the CDC’s website at www.cdc.gov.
* Source: A CDC Compendium of Effective Fall Interventions, 2nd Edition, 2010.
Avoid injuries from a fall
- When falling forward, turn your head to one side to avoid a direct hit to your face or nose. Open your palms to the floor to protect your wrists.
- When falling sideways, tuck your chin to your chest and keep your elbows close to your body.
- Be prepared to fall in a crouched, accordion-like position by bending at your knees and the waist. Your lower legs will hit first, protecting your hips.