In our work with older adults, we want to do more than extend their lives. Our work can certainly help folks to live longer lives, as they get the support they need to stay healthy and safe in the place they call home. But longevity for longevity’s sake has never been our goal at Seniors Resource Center.
At SRC, we’ve been reflecting on what it means not just to age, but to age well. We know that many older adults struggle with feelings of loneliness, isolation, and depression; as many as one in three adults over 45 report feeling lonely and one in four are considered socially isolated. This isolation not only harms older adults’ mental health; it’s also associated with a higher risk for health problems such as cognitive decline, high blood pressure, heart disease, and Alzheimer’s disease.
Movement is also critical to aging well, but can be more challenging as a person ages. Pain, balance issues, fatigue, and a lack of accessibility can make it difficult for older adults to get out of the house to exercise, meet people, and participate in their communities. A lack of movement can contribute to many of the same issues as social isolation, such as cardiovascular issues and depression.
While these older adults may be living longer than previous generations, they aren’t necessarily living better.
Our older adults deserve an aging journey that is as joyful, engaged, and positive as possible. That’s why Seniors Resource Center doesn’t just provide food, water, and essentials to our community’s older adults. We also provide spaces like our Adult Day Program, where older adults can socialize, create art, dance, garden, and have fun. These activities make folks happy and give them a sense of purpose, which are critical in helping them to age well.
There are plenty of ways for anyone in our community to help support older adults in their aging journeys.
How You Can Help Our Older Adults Age Well
Connect with older adults in your life
Combatting social isolation is a huge part of ensuring our older adults age well and improving senior mental health. Whether it’s an older neighbor, family member, or someone else in your life, you can help prevent social isolation by reaching out. Schedule regular visits or phone calls, or find activities you can do together. Even a short phone call every week can go a long way in helping older adults to feel connected.
Starting a new form of exercise can be intimidating, especially if your person hasn’t been very physically active. Support them in finding physical activities that fit their abilities and needs. This could include going for short walks, household tasks like gardening, or opting for gentle aerobic activities that can be done while sitting. Offer to do these activities together to make them feel less like a chore and more like an opportunity to connect!
Offer a ride
Many older adults would love to be active in their communities, but may not be able to drive or access public transportation. You can help by offering a ride to the older adults in your life. This not only ensures they can stay active in their communities; it’s also a great chance for you to spend time together.
Advocate for better accessibility
Many older adults struggle to get out of the house, connect with others, and stay active due to a lack of accessibility. Poorly maintained sidewalks may make it hard for them to move around their neighborhood. Buildings that aren’t wheelchair accessible may prevent them from participating in community activities. Public transit designed without their needs in mind may keep them from getting groceries, seeing family, or doing the things they enjoy, all of which have an impact on senior mental health. You can support our older adults by advocating for better accessibility in our community, such as improved infrastructure and more accessible venues for community events.
We can do more than extend lives. Together, we can help our community’s older adults live longer lives that are happier, healthier, and more fulfilling than ever. Seniors Resource Center is proud to play a role in helping our older adults age well.