May is Older Americans Month, and the theme for this year is Age My Way! Aging in community with family and friends is the wish of many older adults. However, maintaining independence as we age often requires having a plan to reach this goal, especially when navigating functional losses in Activities of Daily Living (ADL).
Age My Way recognizes and celebrates diversity among older adults, as there is no one “right” way to age. It also recognizes the role of person-centered care, which means asking older adults and family caregivers their goals when planning, developing and monitoring care plans in a medical or social service setting.
Finding ways to stay connected with others is vitally important as we age. Three areas people typically investigate once they retire and find they have more free time include:
- Connection to a faith community
- Community volunteer opportunities
- An increase in their health and fitness.
Connection to a faith community
More than 90 percent of older adults profess to be religious or spiritual, and their level of participation in faith communities is higher than among any other age cohort, according to research published in Merck Manual. Faith communities often are dependent on volunteers as well, for stability and to provide supportive services to other members and the larger community. From volunteering in a church office to working in food pantries, helping with community programs, preparing meals, etc., the opportunities are endless.
Community volunteer opportunities
Volunteer opportunities for older adults are everywhere. Finding the right one as you “Age My Way” can be challenging, A great resource is Retired and Seniors Volunteer Program (RSVP). They maintain a list of opportunities that require as little as one hour, one time to weekly or monthly options.
Health and fitness goals
Pursuing health and fitness goals can help older adults stay active and involved in their community longer by improving mobility, flexibility and balance, as well as a host of other physical and mental health benefits. According to the CDC, older adults need at least 150 minutes weekly of moderate intensity activity (such as walking or swimming), two days a week of strengthening activities, and three days a week of activities to improve balance. From participating in Senior Sneakers to 3B (Brain, Body & Belief), there are many ways to stay fit.
Connect to information and resources for older adults
Connecting with your local area agency on aging—that’s CICOA in Central Indiana—can help provide the information and resources you need to Age My Way! You can get started with one of our trained phone options counselors by calling (317) 803-6131 or filling out an online request form.
Begin making your goals today, and plan how you will reach them. Then watch it happen!
To learn about all the ways CICOA can help older adults Age My Way, watch this video explaining programs and services that can help you plan for aging independently, stay connected and stay engaged.
Find out how CICOA can help members of your faith community stay connected and live independently.
Denise Jones Harrington
Denise Jones Harrington is a Licensed Social Worker and Addictions Counselor. As the Faith Partnership Coordinator, she is responsible for building collaborative relationships with faith communities by introducing them to the services of CICOA. Denise has worked as a contractual therapist for over 25 years, providing services under her own name. She has been a therapist with Alpha Resources Inc. for 19 years and served as the Senior Ministry Consultant for Irvington, Faith and Northminster Presbyterian Churches for the last five years. She also volunteers with the Alzheimer’s Association and serves on the Community Advisory Board for the Indiana Alzheimer’s Disease and Research Center.