Older Americans: Making Choices for a Healthier Future. MAY IS AGING AMERICANS MONTH!
"....take me to that meeting and I'll explain that I am old...I'm not an Aging American...Elderly Lady...I'm 96 and I
own a mirror...I know what I am; I'm an old lady...but I'm not a five year old and I'm not stupid!". 96 Year Young
|HOW OLD WOULD YOU BE
|IF YOU DID NOT KNOW HOW OLD YOU ARE?
Where do I begin? We live in Sandpoint. We don't live in Neverland. We will age. I am married to a woman and have two
daughters that try their best to keep me young at heart. I own a mirror that reminds me daily that Father Time and Mother
Nature are more a part of my life than Peter Pan. I am getting older and so are you. Many of us, about 1 out of 4 have a
home that we share with our children and one or both of our parents. The sandwich generation. Where do I turn for help?
What services are available for seniors? Who provides those services? Who pays for the services? How can I help?
To get started we are blessed with one of the best led and viable Senior Centers in northern Idaho. The Sandpoint Senior
Center and they can be reached at 208-263-68860. One of the most outstanding resources in the State is the Area Agency on
Aging (AAA) under the leadership of Director Pearl Bouchard. I have setup a link to AAA here. To learn more about Volunteer
Opportunities and Ombudsman please go exploring on their site. Betsy and I have read the 2006 Annual Report from AAA and
agree with Pearl that it will take many volunteers and generous support from the public to fund services for folks that fall
between those who have the ability to pay for home care services and those who qualify for Medicaid.
If you have been looking for an avenue of service please consider our Aging Americans. As an individual, couple, church
small group, or club; you can volunteer. Like Pearl says, "Our drive is to look beyond the printed pages of the (Aging
Americans) Act and remember citizens whose contributions of the past have shaped our community and country. Its not much
that they ask for-just a chance to live their final years in dignity and with quality of life.
Area Agency on Aging (AAA) is the officially designated agency for Benewah, Bonner, Boundary, Kootenai and Shoshone Counties.
They are part of a nationwide aging network and one of six Area Agencies on Aging in Idaho, created through the Older Americans
Act. Planning activities and coordination of services focus on keeping people 60 years of age or older independent and contributing
members of their community.
|TO LEND A HELPING HAND
"Making Choices for a Healthier Future"
Never has it been more evident that one of the biggest challenges facing the United States is how we will care for our
grandparents, parents, and loved ones as they age. Views may vary on how to prepare for what will be a diverse wave of seniors,
whose ranks are growing due to the aging of 78 million baby boomers who will begin to turn 65 in 2011. But all agree that
this shift in our nations demographics will have profound implications for our economic and social landscapes at the national,
state and community level. Idaho is one of the three fastest growing states in America. Grandparents want to live near their
adult children and grandchildren. We can see this trend in Sandpoint.
Federal, state and community leaders are witnessing sweeping fundamental transformations in the way we think about and
deliver health and long term care in this country. More and more we hear that the overwhelming preference of the American
people is to remain at home for as long as possible and to have choice and control over how and where they live as they age.
The nations national aging services network, led by the U.S. Administration on Aging and comprised of State, tribal and area
agencies on aging, as well as more than 29,000 community service providers, caregivers and volunteers, know this and have
worked hard to carry out their mission under the Older Americans Act to provide for and protect the independence and dignity
of our older citizens.
For 44 years, our nation has paused to honor older Americans during May. During this special month, the ongoing contributions
of our older citizens are highlighted with a national proclamation issued by the President of the United States, and activities
and events planned in communities across America.
I am putting together a day when people my age can join Melinda and I at City Beach for some great weather, fresh air,
beautiful views, and some Tai Chi. I agreed to that because I thought it was number 7 on the menu at one of our popular restaurants.
Now it looks like I'm going to get some exercise and have fun doing it! It makes sense when you consider this years theme.
The theme for Older Americans Month 2007 is; Older Americans: Making Choices for a Healthier Future; This theme encourages
us to think differently about health and long term care, and work together to rebalance and modernize our current systems
so that we may adequately plan for and address the needs of current and future generations. Older persons are entitled to
live lives of dignity and independence through:
Streamlined access to information as well as to home and community services, including information that will enable
people to plan ahead for long term care
Information about cost-effective prevention practices and activities that will improve health and quality of life
and reduce risk of disease, disability and injury, and,
Innovative, affordable and flexible options of care and support that will provide an array of choices about how and
where to live.
We urge people of all ages to seize upon the occasion of Older Americans Month to plan, promote and participate in activities
during May and throughout the year that reflect the tenets of the national theme. We must all work together to ensure that
every older person in this great country is treated with dignity and respect and moreover, has the opportunity to make the
choices they desire to enjoy a healthy and rewarding future.