Volunteerism among seniors is on the rise. A report released by the Administration on Aging noted that the number of volunteers age 65+ increased by 1.4 million people in a seven year span. There are many good reasons behind the jump. Older adults today are on average better off than those in the past. Their better financial standing and higher levels of education may be playing a role in their willingness to serve the community.
As part of Hebrew SeniorLife’s commitment to change the way we view aging (the concept of ReAge), we have focused a lot of attention on maximizing the independence of our patients. We do this by offering personalized care that tailors a care management plan to fit the very specific needs of each patient. In a word, we are reengineering health care.
At Hebrew SeniorLife, care is delivered through a multidisciplinary team approach led by specialists, nurses, physical therapists, psychiatrists and spiritual workers—who all work to create an environment for each patient centered on achieving a maximum level of care. Our care transition model—which leads the way to redefining the experience of aging—serves to provide patients with care at the “right place, right time.”
Today, our nation is entering uncharted territory. An unprecedented number of seniors will want, need, and deserve more services than are currently available. Coupled with the increased need for services are rising expectations that reflect a desire and determination to live senior years to their fullest. This new reality makes our commitment to seniors more relevant than ever. We are an organization uniquely qualified to transform the experience of aging in America.
In thinking about how to communicate this commitment, we realized there is no one word to describe everything that Hebrew SeniorLife has done, and continues to do, to redefine aging.
I’ve worked in the senior care field for almost 20 years. I continue to be amazed by the role art can play in enhancing life for seniors. It’s fair to say that art is a part of life at Hebrew SeniorLife. And as an employee, I get to enjoy it as well! The story of art and seniors is especially apparent at NewBridge on the Charles. The art on the walls, the art history lectures and trips to museums, the seasonal Photography Club exhibit, the NewBridge Art Show and a variety of art classes for members all represent the commitment of the organization to the important role that art plays in creating a vital community.
I find my work with older adults to be rewarding on so many levels. It is a privilege to be invited into an individual’s life and truly make a difference in how he or she experiences this important stage in the aging process. I have worked in assisted living for more than 19 years and have experienced the power the arts has in giving a voice to seniors who struggle with cognitive decline. I’m thrilled to share an opportunity for professionals, to learn more about the role the arts can play in the lives of people living with dementia and to share their own stories. We’ve designed an outstanding conference for eldercare professionals entitled: ARTZ and Dementia: Innovation, Inclusion & Creative Expression.
Hebrew SeniorLife spoke with Ellen Goodman on Friday, September 14 about her involvement in our upcoming College of Retirement Living event “You & Your Aging Parents: A Lifelong Approach to Health, Wellness & Care” and her co-sponsorship with Hebrew SeniorLife of The Conversation Project. She shared her thoughts with us on these projects and topics below:
"It’s always too soon until it’s too late. This describes the circumstances too many of us find ourselves in when it comes to realizing the major transitions we face with our parents as they age. That’s why I’m dedicated to helping parents and their adult children begin a dialogue today to help them plan as a family for life’s major transitions and decisions.
You and Your Aging Parents: A Family Approach to Lifelong Health, Wellness & Care
Session 1 brings together authors and experts who will help families understand the changes aging brings to their lives. Session 2 will help educate them with information and tools to help plan for lifelong health, wellness and care. Anyone who purchases a ticket can bring a family member or loved one for no additional charge.
Stay connected-and we don’t just mean online! Research has shown that maintaining social engagement with people contributes to longer and healthier lives. A study conducted by Hebrew SeniorLife’s Institute for Aging Research showed survival rates among socially active long-term care patients were greater than they were for those who were not.
You can build your social network of friends and family by setting a goal of getting out of the house regularly.
Here are a few ideas I share with seniors about how they can make that happen:
• Join civic, social or other organizations.
• Get friends together and form a walking club or find one to join at a local mall.
• Visit your community’s senior center or council on aging.