Reimagine Aging News: February 2015

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In The News

CEO Deb Taylor’s monthly column, which is published in many Minnesota newspapers, focuses on how we can Reimagine Aging to better serve seniors and their caregivers. The most recent newspaper column is available here.

If you know of a caregiver or older adult who would benefit from Senior Community Services' many supportive programs and services, please encourage them to contact us. They can stay connected with us by doing three things: 'LIKE' us on FACEBOOK, 'FOLLOW' us on TWITTER, and subscribe to our monthly e-newsletter here.

Consider an Estate Gift

It's easy to make a difference that will help future generations, too. Giving a legacy gift - a percentage of your estate - ensures your donation remains proportionate to your estate size, regardless of how it fluctuates over time. Contact CEO Deb Taylor for more information.

 

Ageism, the persistent 'ism'


We frequently hear about racism and sexism in our culture, but we hear little about another persistent 'ism' - ageism.  As our society grows older, due to the large number of retiring baby boomers, ageism remains a growing challenge and concern.
 
Researchers at Yale University were disturbed when they compiled negative comments about older adults that were posted by young people on Facebook. Elders' mobility and debilitation accounted for three-quarters of the comments. Here are a few examples: '"Old people are a pain in the (expletive)."  "They are a burden on society." "They are cheap and smell of (expletive)...they are senile, they complain about everything, they couldn't hear a dump truck...,"' according to the Yale study.
 
A study by Duke University researchers found that 80 percent of seniors had experienced ageism in the form of comments about memory or physical impairments. Nearly one-third of the respondents reported being ignored or not taken seriously because of their age. An AARP survey found that 64 percent of seniors have witnessed or experienced age-based discrimination on the job.
 
These negative stereotypes are quite literally hurtful. Yale psychologist Becca Levy, PhD found that older adults with more positive self-perceptions of aging lived nearly eight years longer, and enjoy better memory and balance, compared to those with negative self-perceptions.
 
Here's the reality; the vast majority of seniors are largely self-sufficient, middle-class consumers, with time and talents to share with others. 
We need to work harder to engender more positive views of older adults. Visit most any senior care campus and you'll find many employees of African origin. These individuals typically have a reverence for elders in their culture. They love their work and consider it a calling. In Africa, they will tell you, elders usually live with their families.

We can reshape our view of our friends and neighbors who are now in the autumn of life. Age stereotypes are typically internalized as early as age four and reinforced over childrens' lifetimes. Let's begin by being better examples for our children and grandchildren - they listen to us and model what they hear.


Seniors still have much to contribute to our communities. At age 80, Minneapolis resident Ellen Boroughf lives vitally and maintains a blog about her aging experience at www.thecontentedalfie.com. The pen name she selected - with a twinkle in her eye - was The Old Baguette.
 
Author Laura Ingalls Wilder published her first book at age 64 and her last at 76. Famous test pilot Chuck Yeager was 75 when he made his last flight as a consultant.
 
We can do more to appreciate what improves with age and what we can continue to offer the community, rather than viewing the natural aging process as unusual and unsatisfying.
 
And when aging does begin to take a toll, rather than falling prey to feelings of irritation or impatience toward older adults, let's respond with our better nature and do as they did when we were children. They patiently answered our questions, held our hand, showed us new things, and walked with us on the journey. 
 
Truth is, we stand on their shoulders and they deserve all we can do to assist them in their time of need. Older adults deserve to be treated with respect and dignity.
 
Let's Reimagine Aging so every person is valued.  We'll all be better for it.

Sincerely,

Deb Taylor
Chief Executive Officer

"Senior Community Services impresses us as an organization that helps meet the needs of older adults and supports caregivers. We feel good about partnering with and supporting their mission."
Peter Cleaveland, UnitedHealthcare team member



 
The generous team members of UnitedHealthcare Medicare & Retirement Marketing
Valentines Day has passed and St. Patrick's Day is on the horizon, but Lori - a Twin Cities senior - is still joyfully telling friends about her wonderful and generous Christmas angels, also known as the UnitedHealthcare Medicare and Retirement Marketing team. 
 
The team members' gifts through the Adopt A Senior program with Senior Community Services touched Lori more than anyone can imagine. 
 
Years ago, Lori was in a car-train accident and suffered a collapsed lung. Since then, she's had to use a vaporizer to moisten the air to ease her asthma and chronic bronchitis.  Just before Christmas, her 15-year-old vaporizer stopped functioning. Lori is unemployed and lives on a fixed income, so its difficult to make the dollars stretch. But, she has an abundance of faith.
 
Lori's wish list to the Adopt A Senior program ended up on the Gift Tree at UnitedHealthcare. The dedicated staff  - veterans of these charitable gift-giving programs - busily got to work. They went shopping, carefully matching their purchases with seniors' needs. A gift wrapping party was held with lots of laughter and a flurry of colorful wrapping paper and bows.
 
Much Gratitude
Lori was overwhelmed when the gifts arrived at her door. Not only did she receive a much-needed vaporizer, but gift cards that will help with gas and groceries while she looks for a job. "These gifts are very much appreciated and will go a long way to easing my financial burdens," Lori wrote in a thank-you note to the UnitedHealthcare team.  "Your thoughtfulness is greatly appreciated. My new vaporizer is truly a wonderful blessing.  "
 
At UnitedHealthcare, the team members have again enjoyed an inspiring experience helping Lori and many other seniors. "We feel the preservation of a person’s dignity is important. Seniors are so deserving of this care and consideration. We’ll all be there one day and hope that we will receive the same care when needed," explained Peter Cleaveland.
 
"Senior Community Services impresses us as an organization that helps meet the needs of older adults and supports caregivers. We respect and appreciate the efforts, coordination, and accomplishments of Senior Community Services. We feel good about partnering with and supporting their mission," Peter added.
 
UnitedHealthcare's Medicare and Retirement Marketing team also generously participates in annual spring and fall yard clean-up efforts for the Household and Outside Maintenance for Elderly (HOME) program. Thank you!

Why I Give

 

"Senior Community Services has a special place in my heart."
Will Rodeck, donor

 
At age 85, Bloomington resident Will Rodeck is a dedicated financial supporter of Senior Community Services' mission serving older adults and caregivers. "I've given one of my pension checks to them every year for probably 20 years," Will says. "I'm happy to do it."

Will's generosity goes back to the 1990s when he ran Seniors Serving Business, a program of Senior Community Services that matched seniors on fixed incomes with part-time, minimum wage administrative jobs for local companies. 

In early retirement, Will also utilized his accounting expertise to do tax returns for individuals. "Senior Community Services had this fancy Xerox machine that could copy and collate the returns. It was really neat. And they were so nice to let me use it. They did me a big favor, but would never accept any payment for the paper I used. I figure my donations are a way of returning the kindness shown me," Will says.

Will also has served as a volunteer Medicare Counselor for Senior Community Services. "Senior Community Services has a special place in my heart. They do a lot of good," Will adds.
Honor a friend or loved one, before year-end, with a tax-deductible annual fund gift to support the Senior Community Services mission. Your gift of $35, $60, $150 or an amount of your choosing will make life better for seniors (and their caregivers) who need help maintaining independence.  

You may give securely online.

Checks may be mailed to: 
Senior Community Services
Attn: Development 
10201 Wayzata Blvd. Suite 335
Minnetonka, MN 55305

Thank you for making a difference in the lives of seniors.

Stay Connected With CareNextion


Are you caring for an aging loved one? Stay connected to caregiving from anywhere with www.carenextion.org. This free and secure online tool strenghtens support networks through centralized coordination of care, task assignment and journaling. You can also access helpful resources.

Visit www.carenextion.org for more information or to speak with a staff person call 612-770-7005.

The Reimagine Aging Institute is the public awareness arm of Senior Community Services as we reach out to the community via the news media.  Through the Institute, we illuminate aging issues of broad relevance for seniors, their families, and Minnesota communities.

Visit the Institute's web page here.  And be sure to watch for media stories of interest to families with older loved ones and friends.

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