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Never too old to play

Posted: May 20, 2012 - 12:05am

May is Older Americans Month, a perfect opportunity to show our appreciation for the older adults in our life and community. Since 1963, communities across the nation have joined in the annual commemoration of Older Americans Month — a proud tradition that shows our nation’s commitment to celebrating the contributions and achievements of older Americans.

The theme for Older Americans Month 2012 is “Never Too Old to Play!” This theme puts the spotlight on the important role older adults play in sharing their experience, wisdom, understanding and passing on that knowledge to other generations in a variety of significant ways.

Lifelong participation in social, creative and physical activities has proven health benefits, including retaining mobility, muscle mass and cognitive abilities. Older adults are not the only ones who benefit from their engagement in community life. Studies show their interactions with family, friends and neighbors across generations enrich the lives of everyone involved. Young people who have significant relationships with a grandparent or elder report that these relationships helped shape their values, goals and life choices and gave them a sense of identity and roots.

Southeast Senior Services and its Senior Information and Caregiver Resource Center (SICRC) provide services, support and resources to older Americans and their family caregivers year-round. The SICRC is taking this theme to heart with a special Family Caregiver Training May 24 that will focus on ways for seniors and caregivers to enjoy activities outside of and in Juneau. Amber Smith with Alzheimers Resource Agency and Janet Lumiansky with Southeast Alaska Independent Living will share “Travel Tips for Caregivers” to encourage family caregivers and their loved ones to get out and enjoy their surroundings. Special door prizes will be offered to entice and encourage caregivers to attend this training. Because all caregivers should enjoy the summer with their loved ones, this May 24 training will be the last Family Caregiver training until August.

Spend quality time together with a senior in your life. The “Never Too Old to Play” theme lends itself to many imaginative activities involving the elders in your life. Now is a great time to take advantage of our great weather: take a walk, plant a garden or share a few pots of bright cheerful flowers with a senior or loved one in your life. Keeping active and safe throughout the summer will build fond memories for you and your elder to look back on. Call Family Caregiver Specialist Joylynn Lake at 463-6177 for more information on the May 24 training or SESS’s Family Caregiver program.

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