Combat Seniors Loneliness
Walkable Neighborhoods Linked to Brain Health
You already know that living in a walkable neighborhood can have a positive effect on physical health.
But the lifestyle just might be beneficial to your brain too. Results from a pilot study by University of Kansas professor Amber Watts found promising signs that living in walkable neighborhoods could help older adults perform better on cognition tests.
A more comprehensive study is on the way. See: www.fastcoexist.com/3039276/want-to-stop-your-brain-from-getting-old-live-in-a-walkable-neighborhood
If you’re interested in moving to a walkable neighborhood or wonder how walkable your current neighborhood is, check Walk Score (www.walkscore.com).
The site scores the walkability of cities and neighborhoods and also lets you type in specific addresses to see how accessible – by foot – a condo or house is to grocery stores, transit, coffee shops, and so forth.
Combat Seniors’ Loneliness
Maybe you read the heartbreaking story about the Chinese man who placed an advertisement in an attempt to find a family willing to adopt him.
The Daily Mail story (www.dailymail.co.uk/news/peoplesdaily/article-3072224/Lonely-old-man-seeks-adoptive-family-return-pension-posts-heartbreaking-newspaper-advert-them.html) profiled the 75-year-old Huan Qi who spends lonely, miserable days. He’s willing to turn over his monthly pension check in exchange for the warmth of family life.
The circumstances surrounding his loneliness are all too common around the globe. That downward spiral entails retirement, the death of spouse, busy children, and greater infirmity.
We can do better.
Loneliness doesn’t cause just psychological anguish. It also has health implications, such as high blood pressure and cognitive declines, for isolated seniors.
If you have elderly friends, family, or neighbors, commit to doing something on a regular basis to ease their isolation.
Pick up the phone, schedule visits, take seniors on outings, invite them to your house, or find local activities – senior or intergenerational events, art classes, and cultural outings – to spark their interest.
You also can find volunteer opportunities to help seniors. See:
More insight about loneliness:
One way to combat loneliness is reviving the old tradition of Sunday dinners.
And Home Instead, franchisor of the Home Instead Senior Care, is trying to do just that by asking people to take the Sunday Dinner Pledge and sit down to a family meal once a month.
It did some research and found that only four of 10 (39%) families with senior relatives living close by share Sunday dinners on a multigenerational level.
Survey respondents say that that sit-down dinners could help seniors deal with a variety of challenges including:
Respondents also think such meals are a good way to reconnect and build stronger bonds among younger and older family members.
The Home Instead site makes planning the Sunday dinners a cinch by offering meal plans and recipes, conversation starters, activities for bonding during meals, and ways to make older adults and integral part of the event. See: www.caregiverstress.com/fitness-nutrition/sunday-dinner/.
White House Conference on Aging
You don’t have to travel anywhere to participate in the White House Conference on Aging (www.whitehouseconferenceonaging.gov/) on July 13, 2015. And you don’t have to be a senior to participate or to benefit.
One aim of the conference is getting people of all ages to consider healthy aging and ways to ensure that people across all generations enjoy longer, better lives.
Click on the links to learn about the conference topics, which will include retirement security (www.whitehouseconferenceonaging.gov/blog/policy/post/retirement-security), healthy aging (www.whitehouseconferenceonaging.gov/blog/policy/post/healthy-aging-policy-brief), long-term services and supports (www.whitehouseconferenceonaging.gov/blog/policy/post/long-term-services-and-supports), and elder justice (www.whitehouseconferenceonaging.gov/blog/policy/post/elder-justice-policy-brief).
According to the White House, the event is an effort “to listen, learn, and share with older adults, their families, caregivers, advocates, community leaders, and experts in the aging field on how to best address the changing landscape of aging in the coming decade.”
Here are several ways to participate:
- Live streaming: Watch the event at www.whitehouse.gov/live
- Twitter: Participate in a Q&A at https://twitter.com/WHAging
In addition, you can share your opinions and your story.
- Finish the sentence: “Getting older is getting better because …”? Then send in your answer See: www.whitehouseconferenceonaging.gov/involved/docs/sign-twitter-GettingOlder.pdf
- Interviews: Download the StoryCorps app (https://storycorps.me) and interview an older adult. Then upload the conversation to have it archived in the Library of Congress. You can share your story on social media by using the #WHCOA hashtag.