For the nearly 60 million older people living in this country, remaining active and independent for as long as possible is crucial to good physical and mental health. Studies have shown improved outcomes for older adults living independently who suffer from memory loss and other health challenges. Fortunately, more resources are available to assist seniors, helping them remain independent and in control of their lives.
Finding Local Support
For many seniors and caregivers, finding support on the local level can be challenging. The U.S. Administration on Community Living, a federal program operating in all 50 states, is an excellent resource for those seeking local resources for help with Medicare, senior well-being, or a local assisted living facility. This helpful database includes valuable resources for long-term care planning and an area dedicated to caregiver support.
AARP was founded in 1958 as the American Association of Retired Persons and is one of the largest special interest groups in the U.S. In 1999, the group formally updated its name to AARP and dropped the retired qualification for its members. Currently, the organization functions as a powerful lobbying partner in the interest of those aged 50 and older.
AARP has a long history of advocating against discrimination and for older Americans’ rights and fair treatment, including the Age Discrimination Act of 1975, to protect older workers in the workplace. The organization is non-partisan and does not contribute to any political party or candidate. The Association can maintain this independence through the support of its vast membership.
Resources offered by AARP are wide-ranging and include insurance plans, financial planning workshops, and driver training courses to help keep seniors safe on the road. AARP also has a job board containing employment and volunteer opportunities for members to help them remain active in their communities.
Meals on Wheels
While recent world events have led to many people feeling lonely and isolated, seniors are especially vulnerable to these conditions as they are more likely to live alone after losing a spouse, family, or close friend. Occasionally, chronic diseases like hearing loss or failing eyesight further aggravate the issue. In such cases, organizations like Meals on Wheels fill a critical need for some of the nation’s most susceptible people.
Meals on Wheels is a national nutrition program for seniors aged 60 or older, signed into law in 1972 as part of the Older Americans Act of 1965. The program aims to support neighbors’ independence and health as they age. This federally-supported program has an active presence in nearly every community in the country, positively impacting millions of seniors daily.
The program provides a much-needed human connection and safety check in addition to free or low-cost nutritious meals to home-bound seniors and disabled persons. Many of the program’s clients have no assistance with meal preparation and limited opportunities to leave their homes. The volunteers staffing the program offer an additional safety net for keeping seniors healthy and helping meet the social needs of others with limited contact with others.
In the decades since its arrival, Meals on Wheels has helped millions of older Americans remain independent and live safely in their homes—social connections formed through the program help combat loneliness while meeting nutritional needs.
Independent living provides seniors the freedom to make their own decisions in living their lives, allowing them to enjoy their best quality of life.