Lifespan: Helping Older Adults Take On The Challenges And Opportunities Of Longer Life.
I recently spoke at LifeSpan's Celebration of Aging event in Rochester, NY and shared my experience and photos. Now I would like to share a little more about the wonderful things Lifespan is doing for their community in their article Lifespan: Helping Older Adults Take On The Challenges And Opportunities Of Longer Life below.
Lifespan: Helping Older Adults Take On The Challenges And Opportunities Of Longer Life
Chances are you don’t like thinking about aging. Some of you might think celebrating aging, as we do in Rochester, NY each year, is an oxymoron. But let’s focus on aging because if not yourself, it’s very likely you know someone -- a relative, a friend -- who is 80 or older. It’s also very likely that you know someone who is a caregiver for a parent.
Why? Our country, like the rest of the world, has more people 65, 75, 85 and 95 than ever before. In many communities 20% of residents are 60 or older. Within a few years that number will grow to 25%. The aging of the baby boom generation coupled our increased longevity means we are experiencing what demographers are calling an age wave.
As Lifespan, a private non-profit organization in Rochester, NY, the age wave is all we think about. Lifespan’s sole focus is providing information, guidance and services geared toward helping older adults take on the challenges and the opportunities of longer life.
How do we help?
A few days ago, we matched a volunteer with John and Betty. Both are in their 80s, and Betty has mild dementia. Our volunteer is going to their home a few days a week to help Betty prepare dinner. This gives John a break, called respite, from caregiving.
We also opened our third older adult center within a YMCA. It’s Lifespan’s 21st century version of a “senior” center, but don’t call it that. These centers focus on mind, spirit and body activities for new generations of older adults. We banished BINGO and fake mashed potatoes. Want to see one in action? Check out The Lily Café on Facebook.
Recently our annual Celebration of Aging (with guest speaker Joan Lunden!), we honored five people 60 and older for the ways they are engaged in life through their activities and/or attitudes. Fran, at 98, exercises three days a week, and we could tell by the way she bounded across the stage to accept her award. Alison is as much the community activist at 81 as she was at 21. And Alicia found her artistic inner self after “retirement,” and now sells her jewelry at juried shows. Our celebration of aging is about debunking old myths and stereotypes.
Lifespan’s more than 30 services for older adults and caregivers include elder abuse prevention, Medicare guidance, elder care management, fall prevention, chronic disease management, advocacy for nursing home residents, in-home bill paying assistance from volunteers, health care coordination and much more. In fact, Joan began her speech at our celebration by saying , “Every city needs a Lifespan!” We agree!