Western Springs, IL (April10, 2007) – Celebrated each May, Older Americans Month is an opportunity to celebrate aging and to spotlight issues unique to the age 65 and older population. Established in 1963 by President Kennedy as Senior Citizens Month, it was renamed Older Americans Month in 1980 by President Carter. In line with the 2007 national theme of “Making Choices for a Healthier Future”, we highlight five choices common to older adults.
Mary Doepke, Owner of Home Helpers in Western Springs says, “Each day we strive to Make Life Easier® for older adults and their family. All too often people struggle unnecessarily. From occasional help around the house, to providing care for people 24 hours a day, seven days a week, we offer the services and support older adults often need to maximize their independence.” We use the acrostic D.R.E.A.M. to highlight the five choices older adults can make for a healthier future.
- D is for Dreams. Make every day count. Consider what matters most in life and brings you joy. Make choices that can turn your dreams into reality. Do what you can, while you still can, so you do not look back on life and think, “I should have…” or “I could have…” It is never too late to accomplish your dreams and to be the person you might have been.
- R is for Retire. The concept of retirement has changed significantly over the years. The new retirement may involve contributing time and energy on a part-time or full-time basis. For many people, paid employment may be a necessity to make ends meet. Others may volunteer their time as a choice to remain active and engaged. Retirement may be the opportunity to focus time and talent on activities directly related to hobbies and interests. Whatever retirement looks like to you, using your time and energy for either paid or volunteer work can provide a sense of purpose, contribution and connectedness.
- E is for Encourage. Many older people choose to direct attention to their children and grandchildren. Increased availability and flexibility often provides older adults the time to engage and encourage younger generations. Share the wisdom you have gained over the years from trial, error and living. Encourage the ones you love. Share in life. Talk about things that matter most and that will leave a lasting legacy.
- A is for Adjust. Aging is a process of gradual change over time. While the sequence of change is similar, the rate at which we experience physical and cognitive changes tend to be quite individual often based on lifestyle choices, genetics, and environmental factors. Many people face limitations that can make day-to-day living activities challenging. Older adults often face choices, such as how to cope with a chronic illness, when to stop driving, when to engage the support of family or professional caregivers to help with independently living and personal care, and more.
- M is for Manage. Maintaining control and managing one’s own life tends to be important, especially for a generation known for its independence and self-sufficiency. Often maintaining control over life involves sharing your wishes with family members and friends. It is much easier for family and friends to honor one’s wishes when they know what his or her wishes are. Therefore, we encourage older adults to write down and share their wishes with people who could be called upon to provide care or make decisions on their behalf. Also, seek the counsel of trusted advisors to make informed choices, manage assets and expenditures, and maximize quality of life.
Doepke adds, “At Home Helpers we know that every life matters. Our hope is to provide the care and support our greatest generation needs and deserves, while at the same time honoring our clients’ wishes and celebrating their lives.”
Home Helpers, a leader in the industry of providing companion and personal care services, offers a free educational series entitled ‘Caregiving Considerations.’ The free series is designed to help families prepare for the many issues they are likely to encounter as loved ones age or become ill. The series, written by award-winning author Charles Puchta, is available at no charge by calling Home Helpers at 708-783-1220.