A 78-year-old grandmother deadlifts 225 pounds. A 62-year-old wins a spelling bee. These and two million other older adults statewide have been recognized by the Illinois Department on Aging (IDoA) during its recent “call to action for older adults across Illinois and the nation to live boldly and age fearlessly.”
The IDoA states, “Older adults are the backbone of our society. The contributions they’ve made have been imprinted on our history forever. By fulfilling our mission of administering programs that encourage independence, dignity, and quality of life, the IDoA hopes to continue to give older Illinoisans the tools they need to age with peace of mind and grace.”
Resources are available at www.illinois.gov/aging and 1-800-252-8966. Other states also offer seniors resources to enhance their health and independence.
According to the National Council on Aging (NCOA), aging well means staying healthy enough to be independent, secure, and productive. “Yet millions struggle every day with health and safety challenges such as chronic diseases, falls, and mental health issues – all of which can severely impact quality of life.”
The NCOA says that about 80 percent of older adults have at least one chronic disease; 77 percent have at least two. Chronic diseases account for 75 percent of U.S. healthcare dollars.
The NCOA adds that every 15 seconds, an older adult is treated in the emergency room for a fall; every 29 minutes, an older adult dies following a fall, with the nation spending $30 billion annually treating seniors from the consequences of falls. Plus, one in four seniors also experiences some form of mental disorder, including depression, anxiety, and dementia.
Seniors are encouraged to participate in programs, use on-line tools, and stay active to better manage their chronic conditions, tackle the challenges of their later years, and flourish.