Assisting Hands Home Care | Chicago, IL and WI

Our Office Serves:

Call Us at (888) 559-3889 or Submit Contact Form Below

Connect with Your Senior Loved Ones for Older Americans Month

Older Americans Month 2024

Older Americans Month 2024

Seniors and older adults are valuable members of our society.  They have spent their lives making meaningful contributions to their careers and families and can continue to offer invaluable advice and wisdom to the younger generations.  Sadly, the value and contributions of older Americans are often overlooked.

Every year in May, the U.S. observes Older Americans Month (OAM), a month in which we recognize the contributions of older adults, trends in aging, and the commitments of our society to serve the older adults in our communities.  The observance of Older Americans Month is led by the Administration for Community Living, a part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that helps fund and support programs that encourage older and disabled adults to live independently and participate in their communities.

There is a theme for each Older Americans Month and the theme for 2024 is Powered by Connection.  Unfortunately, it is common for older adults to experience social isolation and loneliness as they get older as factors such as distance from family, loss of friends and spouses, and cognitive and physical limitations contribute to their isolation and impede their independence.  The goal of this year’s theme is to recognize how meaningful social relationships positively impact older Americans and how being connected helps support their independence and combat isolation.

Assisting Hands Older Adult Care

History of Older Americans Month

Older Americans Month was established in 1963 when President Kennedy and members of the National Council of Senior Citizens first designated May as “Senior Citizens Month” before it become Older Americans Month.  This month was established at a time in which one-third of older Americans were living in poverty and more people were becoming concerned that there were not enough programs to help meet their needs.

The goal of Older Americans Month is to acknowledge and celebrate the contributions of past and current generations of older Americans through special events, fairs, and ceremonies.  A formal proclamation of Older Americans Month has been made each year by every U.S. President since Kennedy.

Staying Connected with Your Senior Loves Ones

Meaningful social connections have a positive impact on people’s lives, including their physical health as well as their mental and emotional well-being.  However, there are many factors that contribute to social isolation and loneliness in seniors which can have detrimental effects on their physical and emotional health.

Social isolation and loneliness are often intertwined, but they are not the same thing.  Social isolation is when a person has limited social contacts and interacts with few people while loneliness is the feeling of being alone or disconnected from people.  It is possible for someone to experience one without the other, but loneliness often results from social isolation.

Impacts of Social Isolation and Loneliness

Older adults dealing with social isolation and loneliness may experience poor physical health as they are more likely to drink or smoke too much, not exercise enough, and not get good sleep.  These habits can contribute to a number of health issues such as high blood pressure, heart disease, and obesity.

Older adults who feel disconnected also experience emotional pain which can contribute to depression and anxiety.  The stress brought on by emotional pain can cause responses in the body such as physical pain and even reduced immunity, increasing the risk of chronic and infectious diseases.  A lack of social connections can reduce cognitive function as well, making those affected more vulnerable to dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

The Powered by Connection theme of Older Americans Month brings attention to the positive impact that being socially connected can have on older adults.  Helping your senior loved ones feel connected can greatly benefit their physical health and emotional well-being which increases their ability to continue living independently as they age.

How to Keep Your Senior Loved Ones Connected

In observance of Older Americans Month, you should help your senior loved ones stay active and connected with others, including family, neighbors, friends, and members of the community.  Helping your loved ones form and foster these connections gives them a sense of purpose and belonging which improves their emotional well-being, cognitive function, and physical health.

You can help your senior loved ones stay connected by doing the following:

  • Encourage your loved ones to engage in their favorite hobbies, even if it has been years since they last did. You can also enroll them in a class to learn a new hobby and meet people with similar interests.
  • Help your loved ones schedule time each day to connect with a family member, friend, or neighbor either in person, on the phone, through social media, or a video call. The people they connect with should include those they trust enough to talk to about personal matters.
  • Talk to your loved ones about adopting a pet if they are able to provide care. A pet can provide your senior loved one with companionship which can lower stress and blood pressure.  Certain pets, like dogs, can keep them active as they can take their dog on a walk around the neighborhood or to a park.
  • Encourage your senior loved ones to exercise and engage in physical activity. This helps them maintain their physical health and get out of the house.  You should also discuss the possibility of joining an exercise class, so they have an opportunity to meet new people and socialize.
  • If your loved ones want to socialize with more people their age, help them look for social clubs in your community that align with their interests. Joining social clubs helps your loved ones meet new people and adds some structure to their lives by giving them a regular event.
  • Losing the ability to drive makes it more difficult for seniors to stay social as they cannot get from place to place as easily. If your loved one no longer drives, look into any transportation services that may be offered to seniors in your community. Senior shuttle services may be available to give rides to your loved ones and many cities offer senior discounts to use public transportation.  You can also arrange transportation with family members or friends to help your loved ones get to scheduled events.

Keep Your Loved Ones Connected with Home Care

Older Adult Care Naperville Illinois

In honor of the Powered by Connection theme of this year’s Older Americans Month, reach out to your senior loved ones.  Have a meaningful conversation with them about how they are doing and see if there is anything you can help them with.  Encourage them to be active and engage in hobbies and activities that involve social interaction.  Most of all, let them know that they are an important part of your life and a cherished member of your family.  Helping your senior loved ones feel connected benefits them in so many ways, including their physical health and emotional well-being.

Another great way to help your senior loved ones feel connected and promote their independence is by setting up home care services.  Many seniors are choosing to age in place instead of leaving their homes for an assisted living facility or nursing home, but they may require assistance to live at home safely.  At Assisting Hands Home Care, we help seniors age in place with quality, compassionate in-home care services.

When you work with Assisting Hands, we start by evaluating your loved one’s specific care needs so we can form a personalized care plan.  Our licensed caregivers will provide assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs) as well as activities such as housekeeping, meal preparation, transportation, and more.  You can also expect our caregiver to be a social companion for your loved one and develop a personal relationship with them to help them feel connected.

Call Assisting Hands Home Care at (630) 634-9316 for more about our home care services in  Glen Ellyn, IL | Warrenville, IL | Naperville, IL | Westmont, IL | Woodridge, IL | Lisle, IL | Wheaton, IL and the surrounding areas.