By Dawn M. Aerts
Iron County Today
CEDAR CITY—Older adults and their caretakers were invited to meander along the walking trail outside Cedar City Hospital on Saturday to see Tai Chi and chair yoga demonstrations, to hear tips on home safety, physical therapy exercise, and in general, how to age well during the 1st “Age Out Loud” event celebrating older adults and caregivers.
Janelle Brown, the Older Adult Advocate at the hospital since 2014, wants to connect the elderly and caregivers with all of the resources available to them in the community. Brown, a registered nurse who has spent time in home health care, has seen the challenge that older adults (and caregivers) face each day.
“This event is really about introducing the elderly to better health options,” said Brown, “and providing them with the opportunity to see, and explore the many health benefits available to them.” Current data shows that older people represent about 10 percent of the current population, and about 50 percent of hospital (day) stays.
She explained that by 2030, the older adult will represent up to 20 percent of the population, with expanded need for health services.
“This event encourages older adults to take a proactive approach to better living,” Brown said, “to find and access the resources they need to age well, with the tools and support caregivers will need too.”
The “Age Out Loud” morning event featured screenings for dementia, blood pressure and depression, as well as useful information on in-home safety precautions, Tai Chi and exercise demos using a Yoga Chair.
“This was an (interactive) experience,” said Brown, and a holistic-response to these issues. Brown pointed out that both depression and insomnia are challenges that older adults face – along with managing (prescribed) medications and the ability to cope with physical issues that emerge over time. “I am really grateful with the community response to the need for both donations and volunteer help.”
She says that the “Giving Tree” (in the hospital lobby); projects among hospital staff, and other community-driven programs continue to support the needs of older adults with donated items like toiletries, bus passes, gift certificates for services or items, which are made available (based on need) through the Five County Association (Aging project) in Cedar City.
Meanwhile, local agencies continue to seek volunteers who are willing to spend time with an older adult, help with yard work, or provide some support and relief for caregivers.
“We have many individuals who are stepping forward to help in some way,” Brown said. “This is our way to celebrate older adult month by providing service to those who have taught and served us.”
Brown said that she doesn’t want older adults to be silent about the aging process, “They need to speak up about what their needs are, and to be proactive in pursuing good health – that is, to ‘Age Out Loud.’”
To volunteer, make a donation or for more information on Aging Well issues, contact, Janelle Brown at Cedar City Hospital, 435-868-5818.