Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Older Americans and National Senior Health and Fitness

By Terry Orr

Older Americans Month

The Older Americans Act of 1965 (Pub.L. 89–73, 79 Stat. 218, July 14, 1965) was the first federal level initiative aimed at providing comprehensive services for older adults. It created the National Aging Network comprising the Administration on Aging on the federal level, State Units on Aging, and Area Agencies on Aging at the local level. The network provides funding - based primarily on the percentage of an area's population 60 and older - for nutrition and supportive home and community-based services, disease prevention/health promotion services, elder rights programs, the National Family Caregiver Support Program, and the Native American Caregiver Support Program. (Source: Wikipedia)

Programs created to support OAA (Source: Wikipedia):
  • Administration on Aging (AoA) established under the Department of Health and Human Services as the federal level advocate for the aging population, and coordinator for service delivery to the elderly
  • National Eldercare Locator Service a toll free hotline for identifying community resources
  • Support Services to promote independence with regard to transportation, home care, legal aid, case management, and adult day care,
  • Nutrition Programs including congregate and home delivered meals
  • National Family Caregiver Support Program to provide respite services, education, training, and counseling to seniors providing kinship care, and to the caregivers of seniors
  • Health Promotion providing educational services, counseling and consultation
  • Aging and Disability Resource Centers to facilitate the dissemination of information on available resources
  • The Community Service Senior Opportunities Act (OAA Title V) which works with the Department of Labor to provide employment opportunities for seniors
  • Grants to Tribal Organizations
  • The Long-term Care Ombudsman Program
  • Elder Abuse, neglect, and exploitation public education services

National Senior Health and Fitness Day

National Senior Health & Fitness Day is honored on the last Wednesday of every May as part of Older Americans Month and National Physical Fitness and Sports Month activities.

The goal: To promote the importance of regular physical activity, and to showcase what local groups are doing to help improve the health of older adults in their communities.

Regular physical activity is essential for healthy aging. Adults aged 65 years and older gain substantial health benefits from regular physical activity, and these benefits continue to occur throughout their lives. Promoting physical activity for older adults is especially important because this population is the least physically active of any age group.

The benefits of physical activity include:
  • Helping to maintain the ability to live independently and reduces the risk of falling and fracturing bones;
  • Reducing the risk of dying from coronary heart disease and of developing high blood pressure, colon cancer, and diabetes;
  • Helping reduce blood pressure in some people with hypertension;
  • Helping people with chronic, disabling conditions improve their stamina and muscle strength;
  • Reducing symptoms of anxiety and depression and fosters improvements in mood and feelings of well-being;
  • Helping maintain healthy bones, muscles, and joints; and
  • Helping control joint swelling and pain associated with arthritis.

In the meantime, here are some simple health tips from Healthfinder that will help keep you aging well:
  • Keep your body and mind active
  • Choose healthy foods
  • Get regular checkups
  • Take steps to prevent accidents

Always consult your doctor before starting an exercise program, or drastically changing your diet. It is also very important to take an active role in preventing sickness.

References and Links:

(Images from Google)


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