Senior News, January 2020

Community Living Services:
Don’t Fall for it!

[January 2020 | San Juan Silver Stage | By Eva Veitch, Community Living Services Program Director]

No, I’m not referring to scams this time. I do want to discuss falls and the impact (LOL) they have on older adults, however; falls are not necessarily a normal part of aging. I have personally experienced more falls than I care to think about, often resulting in expensive medical bills and a major disruption to my life. I HATE falling and I am working with my physical therapist to figure out why I fall and how I may be able to prevent it in the future.

The statistics are rough: One of every three people over age 65 report at least one fall annually, with 20 to 30 percent of those resulting in injury. Falls are the leading cause of injury or death among those 65 and older. These are not uplifting numbers, but the good news is that there are things we can do to prevent falls for ourselves and the people we care about.

The root cause of falling can be related to medical issues, medication side effects, poor balance, vision issues, dehydration, malnutrition, or cognitive challenges. It can also be related to life patterns that don’t serve us well as we age, as is the case for me. I have always moved quickly and often without much awareness. I am usually multitasking in my brain and thinking about the next thing I need to do instead of concentrating on walking safely.

Trying to change lifelong patterns is no easy task, but I am determined. So, in addition to increasing my exercise routine and working on mindfulness, I will be attending the “Stepping On” balance workshop offered by Region 10 in March. Stepping On is a 7-week program designed for people who live at home and have experienced a fall or are concerned about falling. The program incorporates strategies to implement positive lifestyle changes to keep you independent, upright, and active. The evidence has proven that Stepping On reduces falls by over 30 percent.

The program starts and ends with a risk appraisal, exercises and moving about safely, home hazards, community safety and footwear, vision related to falls and vitamin D, medication management, and mobility mastery and planning. Experts in the fields of low vison, pharmaceuticals, physical therapy, and community safety will each offer a presentation.

The series will be held at Meadowlark Court Apartments, 1811 Pavilion Drive, beginning March 3 from 1 to 3 P.M. Workshops will be held every Tuesday, same place same time. Those unable to commit to all classes should not register. Region 10 Area Agency on Aging sponsors this series, so donations are appreciated but not required. Contact Jenny McIntyre at 970-901-2388 to see if this workshop is right for you.

Generational Sharing

[January 2020 | San Juan Silver Stage | By Marilynn Huesby, Senior Resource Consultant]

Where were you when you were in 3rd grade? Hopefully, inside each of us, that curious 8 year old still lives. At that age, life was full of things you either did or didn’t want to do. Your parents insisted you do your chores, and the teachers listed your homework assignments. After that, you were free to explore the outdoors. The whole neighborhood—fields, streams, and trees—were yours. In those days, you could ride your bike or roam around with your friends as far as you could go and still be back for dinner. This isn’t true for young people caught in the constraints of our society today.

Remember the pets—the puppies, hamsters, or horses—that were such a big part of your young life? What chores did you do to help around the home or farm? Did you collect bottles and newspapers to recycle for two cents so you could go to the cinema matinee? How about your memories of the first time you learned to do something new, like ride a bike or help your mom bake a cake?

Do you recall your grandparents telling stories about what they did when they were young? Bet it was a lot different than what you remember of your own childhood. And different, still, from what your children and grandkids are doing today. Each generation has its own unique experiences, and it’s heartwarming (and fun) to share them. Tales told around the kitchen table or in front of the old fireplace create fond memories that live in our hearts and scrapbooks. It’s this kind of story we would all like to share with the youngsters of today. Their imaginations are still ready to explore what life was like for you at their age—and most are willing and eager to share stories of their own as well.

“Look Grandma, I drew a dinosaur in school today on my iPad.” “We didn’t have iPads when I was in school,” you tell them. “We drew our dinosaurs on paper. We didn’t have television then, either, or cell phones.” The kid is dumbfounded, “What did you do?”

This opens up a whole new world of shared information, as kids ask questions and you tell them your stories and listen to theirs. You don’t have to be their grandparent, or even a grandparent at all. Just be willing to share, and in so doing, inspire your young listeners to describe what they find interesting in their own young lives.

Golden Circle and the Montrose Senior Center are asking seniors to meet with Pamona 3rd graders to compare and contrast stories with them and encourage their interest in learning and sharing with older people. This is a wonderful opportunity to foster kindness, curiosity, and understanding across generations.

Meet to share generational experiences on Mondays—January 13, 20, and 27—from 1 to 2 P.M. You can volunteer for one or all of the three different Mondays, as there are three different Pamona 3rd grade classes. Please RSVP to Cindy at 970-252-4884.