When people think of Silicon Valley, most often they think of young entrepreneurs hoping to create a new high-tech smartphone app, or maybe they think of Facebook, Apple, and Google battling it out to create the “next big thing.” They certainly wouldn’t imagine the number of entrepreneurs (from Silicon Valley and elsewhere) who are focused on improving the lives of older adults.
Elder financial abuse is a seemingly intractable problem. Billions of dollars are taken from seniors every year, and there are few lines of defense. As we learn more about the kinds of scams and fraud to which older adults are subjected, it’s clear that we have to be more proactive in educating, advocating and putting systems in place to prevent fraud and scams and other forms of financial exploitation.
Health matters. So does nutrition. What should a quality nutrition program offer? Good food? Good friends? Improvement in how you feel? Help in staying home? The Older Americans Act Nutrition Program (OAA NP) offers all those things and more. At the Administration on Aging (AoA), an agency within the Administration for Community Living, we are focusing on what we offer during March—National Nutrition Month.
These comments from older adults illustrate that the OAA NP delivers more than a meal.
On the Catawba Indian reservation, outside Rock Hill, SC, there’s a friendly competition brewing among the elders at the tribally owned senior center as to whose squash or peas are the best. But in the end, taste and size diminish in importance as the produce harvested from the custom-built raised garden beds is shared freely, and the whole tribe wins.
Dance the tango. Learn to speak Spanish. There is ample evidence that participating in physical and cognitive fitness activities can mean a fitter, healthier aging process. To age is to live. To live is to change. If we live long enough, we are likely to experience decline, disease and frailty, no matter how successfully or healthfully we have aged.
According to the National Institutes of Health, more than 20 million Americans practice some form of meditation to achieve greater peace of mind and enhanced sense of well-being. Now studies of the neurological differences between meditators and non-meditators, and studies of immune cell aging via telomere length in meditators and non-meditators, show that meditation can also affect the way we age.
For the past three years, the Coalition of Limited English Speaking Elderly (CLESE) has fostered and led Global Garden Refugee Training Farm, a new urban farm in Chicago where seventy-five refugee families, mostly from Bhutan and Burma, are growing food for themselves, earning supplemental income and meeting their neighbors.
The United States and other Western countries have seen a steady increase in the number of immigrants since the 1970s. A recent report from the U.S. Census Bureau indicates that close to 13 percent of the U.S. population is foreign-born, and about 12 percent of the immigrant population are ages 65 and older (Grieco et al., 2012). A majority of recent immigrants are from Latin America and Asia, and Latino adults, particularly of Mexican origin, represent a growing segment of the aging population.