Royce Shook

1 year ago · 2 min. reading time · visibility 0 ·

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Senior Centers

I have a new role; I am the president of our local senior center advisory board. So, I thought I would look at the role Senior centers play to help keep us healthy and active. First, senior centers are a great place to stay healthy and to find volunteering opportunities and make new friends.

Health and fitness are where senior centers have really expanded in recent years. In addition to traditional programs like aerobics, Zumba, yoga, and Tai Chi, many senior centers now offer evidence-based health programs that have been scientifically proven to make people healthier. My center offers drop-in programs that range from Chair Fitness to Yoga

We also offer regularly scheduled blood pressure and Foot Care/Podiatry Clinic but some others offer glucose screenings. These clinics can replace tedious trips to a medical clinic for those simple procedures.

We are a membership-based organization with over 1,000 members, with oversight by the advisory board on which I serve. This is no different than most senior community centers. Each Center has a set of municipally driven policies and access points. Many of the seniors who joined our center are also members of other centres and attend programs based on their interests. In my community, there are three other senior centers and some of our members have suggested better communication and cooperation between the municipal centres, which is something I will look into this year.

One of the main roles of a senior center is to provide the opportunity for seniors to be connected. Social isolation among seniors has been the subject of prominent public inquiries such as by Canada’s National Seniors Council, and the U.S. Senate Aging Committee. A widely-cited study determines that the negative health impact of social isolation is equivalent to smoking up to 15 cigarettes per day. Both urban and rural communities across the continent have struggled on what to do about social isolation among seniors.

In the U.K., the government even appointed a “Minister of Loneliness” due to the health impacts of social isolation. It is clear that government policymakers already understand the costs of social isolation. Now we need to convince them of the benefit of investing in initiatives that enhance the quality of life among frail and elderly seniors. In a report in our local paper, the United Way stated, that In fact, 46 percent of British Columbians say they sometimes feel lonely, according to research, and 38 percent feel isolated from other people in their community. What’s more, two in five British Columbians (41 per cent) don’t have many people to talk to in their own neighbourhood. Many of those who are isolated are seniors.

The impact on a senior’s ability to remain in their community may make a difference in the person’s ability to age in place, which is an important goal. The list was based primarily on comments from services providers but was confirmed by seniors themselves. There are three factors that may hinder a senior’s ability, these are:

1. Early-stage dementia may be misdiagnosed or seen by family and friends as forgetfulness, suspicion, fear of strangers or a denial that anything is wrong and no help is needed

2. A reluctance to ask for or accept help

3. Fear of change

In a report published in 2013 on senior issues in my community, the author stated: There are 5 municipalities that offer different levels of support, have a mix of older and newer housing. The limited number of services available are unevenly distributed throughout the region. Many seniors, some quite a bit older than others, reported that they were doing well and did not require any assistance at this time. At some point in most of the conversations, the issue of access to information about services and the coordination of these services was raised. The report also found that most seniors do not know what services are available in my area. I hope that over the next two years that our Board will take steps to address this issue, which may help the issue of isolation and loneliness.

Senior Centers
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Royce Shook

1 year ago #4

Thank you, Franci, John and Bill. Bill thank you for the link to 1million

Congrats on your new role!

John Rylance

1 year ago #2

Good Luck, hope you achieve your aims/objectives in this very worthwhile venture.

congrats o the promotion, I just turned 88 and feel like a senior bee. Best regards, Bill Stankiewicz President Savannah Supply Chain Office: 1.404.750.3200 USA Brand Ambassador

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