National Council on Aging Programs
Seniors in the United States face a number of challenges. Health care costs that only ever seem to go up, the growing rates of diseases like Alzheimer’s and heart disease, making do on retirement savings in geographic areas where the cost of living keeps rising, all of that adds up to a number of difficulties and hard decisions seniors and their families must grapple with.
That’s the bad news, but there’s good news too! There are resources out there to help families through the struggles that come with aging. The National Council on Aging provides an array of programs aimed at helping seniors with health and financial difficulties.
Overview of National Council on Aging Programs
The National Council on Aging (NCOA) was formed in 1950 to help improve the quality of life of seniors. Since that time, they’ve been working to develop evidence-based programs designed to help seniors live healthier and more financially stable lives.
Seniors in the United States can take advantage of these programs by getting in touch with the closest community-based NCOA partner working to implement them in their area. If a senior can’t find a program close enough to get involved with, they can still make use of the extensive resources the NCOA makes available on their website.
Programs for Healthy Aging
If there’s one thing that can make most seniors feel powerless, it’s the effects of aging on the body. All those physical tasks that used to be easy become much more of a challenge as you get older.
The National Council on Aging’s Programs for Healthy Aging can’t stop the clock on seniors’ bodies getting older, but they can help people better manage the process of aging and ward off some of the worst effects of it.
Falls are the leading cause of injuries in seniors. Falling not only becomes more frequent as you age and your body’s sense of balance becomes weaker, falls also become much more disastrous. Injuries like hip fractures and concussions can lead to even worse health problems during the time it takes to treat them and heal.
Which is all to say, prevention is definitely the best goal! The NCOA’s evidence-based fall prevention program provides tips and an action plan to seniors who want to be proactive about avoiding the consequences of a fall.
Chronic Disease Management
Injuries aren’t the only concern seniors face. Many of the most common and serious diseases disproportionately affect seniors. Approximately 80% of all seniors deal with at least one chronic disease, and 68% even have two or more.
The NCOA’s chronic disease management program provides seniors with the tips and resources needed to manage the symptoms of diseases like diabetes, hypertension, arthritis, and lung disease. Healthier living can minimize the effects of the disease and help you improve your quality of life.
Flu + You
The flu is never fun for anyone, but when seniors catch it, it can weaken their immune system to the point where they’re more prone to catch other diseases. Seniors make up 90% of flu-related deaths, so the flu is nothing to sneeze at in your older years.
The Flu + You program provides resources to help seniors understand the risks, figure out where to go for a flu shot, and equip themselves with additional knowledge to help prevent getting the flu each year.
Aging Mastery Program
The Aging Mastery Program doesn’t just tackle health, it seeks to equip seniors with the tools and knowledge to take a more holistic approach to improving their lives in the years they have left.
As life expectancy continues to grow for seniors due to advances in health care and technology, it’s been a bit of a struggle for seniors and society at large to catch up to the change and make sure the people living longer are able to live a good life for the whole time. The Aging Mastery Program involves ten core classes that cover an array of topics including personal growth, relationships, and community involvement, along with financial and physical well-being.
Programs for Economic Security
Other than health issues, the main challenge many seniors face is figuring out how to afford all the things they need after retirement. Even those who spend their working years saving dutifully may find those savings don’t go as far as expected once they face long-term care costs and other surprise expenses.
The National Council on Aging’s Economic Security programs address the economic set of challenges seniors deal with.
With seniors living longer than ever, it’s no surprise that many choose (or find themselves needing) to work later in life. The NCOA’s Older Workers program helps connect seniors to jobs they can reasonably do, based on the skills they have and any mobility limitations they may deal with due to their age.
Working longer is one way to manage the financial issues that many seniors face; another is making use of the real estate investment many made when they were younger. If you own a home, but find yourself struggling with everyday costs, you have options.
The NCOA’s Home Equity program provides resources and advice to help seniors better understand their options and figure out if a reverse mortgage may be a good choice for their needs.
Spending money wisely is a challenge for many Americans, but retirees that don’t bring in as much income as their younger counterparts face additional challenges. Many seniors are doing their best to make do on less money per month than they did during their working years, which is understandably difficult.
The NCOA’s Money Management Program provides resources for learning how to budget money more effectively and pay down (and avoid taking on) debt. It also educates seniors on how to recognize common scams to avoid and best practices they can use to keep their financial accounts secure.
Benefits for Seniors
Finally, seniors also have access to more benefits than many realize. The NCOA’s Benefits for Seniors program helps seniors understand what benefits are available, how they work, and which ones they’re eligible for.
From Medicaid to SNAP assistance to disability benefits, there may be a wealth of helpful programs and aid out there you’re missing out on. Some time perusing the site can bring you up to speed.
Nobody can give you back the health you experienced in your 20’s and barring a lucky lottery win, you probably won’t have a small fortune handed to you anytime soon. But the National Council on Aging’s programs can help you take better care of yourself in the situation you’re in now. Healthy living and smart financial choices can go a long way towards making your remaining years much more fun and pleasant.