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SENIOR CENTER ROLES WITHIN THE COMMUNITY

YOU’RE LIKE MOST.

80 percent of older adults have one chronic condition, National Council on Aging (NCOA) reports. Further, 95 percent of health care costs for older Americans are spent on chronic illnesses, and over a third of Medicare beneficiaries have at least four chronic conditions.

If you ever feel there is little support or little to do, take a trip down the road. Your local senior or community center plays an important role in community-based services. Transportation is available to get there, too. (Fun fact: federal legislation enacting senior center funding describes a main function to be “community services,” but has no mention of “senior services.”)

Senior centers facilitate your involvement in the community. They also help with your life-needs and provide services to help you remain in your home, by hosting programs such as foot clinics and Meals on Wheels. Senior center participants are ahead of the game, as NCOA notes participants have increased levels of health and social interaction.

We are all encouraged to develop and maintain healthy lifestyles; older adults and those with disabilities are no exception. To view a schedule of evidence-based health and wellness programs offered at your local senior center, visit CT Healthy Living. Session topics include chronic disease and diabetes self-management. You will also find the national Aging Mastery Program, a ten-week series of incentive-based health and wellness classes for people 55 and older. Then again, 90 percent of Americans aged 55 and older have a heightened risk of high blood pressure.

TAKE CONTROL OF YOUR HEALTH WITH THESE TIPS:

Prevent falls. An older adult enters the ER every 11 seconds to be treated for a fall. Wear shoes with good support to reduce this risk and be sure to have grab-bars where needed.

Get active. Do something each day, even if it’s a walk to the mailbox. Physical activity helps you stay strong, sleep better, reduce stress, avoid falls, and look and feel better too. Local senior centers offer several finesses classes and clubs.

Manage stress. Stress contributes to heart disease, HBP and diabetes (to name just a few). Keep busy with a favorite hobby or take up a new one.

Eat right. Combined with physical activity, eating nutritious foods in the right amounts can help keep you healthy. Ask your local senior center about its meals programs.

Get regular dental, vision and hearing checkups. Senior centers offer these, too.

Stay up-to-date on immunizations and other health screenings. Many low-cost or free health and wellness screenings are available. See what preventative care is offered with your physician or local senior center.

Stop smoking. Take this critical step to improve your health and combat aging. Smoking can cause chronic illnesses such as heart disease, cancers, strokes, and diabetes. NCOA reports those four conditions cause nearly two-thirds of yearly deaths. Many resources are available to help you quit.

Visit CT Healthy Living and Age Well CT to find out what’s happening at senior centers and to get valuable information about wellness programs and other resources near you. You can also visit My Place CT for more information.


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