Overcoming the 8 Grand Challenges of Aging

water color senior couple

Aging presents new challenges at every stage in life. For seniors, it can be especially challenging to maintain independence. To improve the lives of all elderly adults, the Aging2.0 Alliance, a network of senior specialists and experts, started the Grand Challenges initiative.  The Grand Challenges initiative identifies eight challenges faced by the elderly that are in significant need of innovation. The goal is to focus the Alliance’s future efforts towards addressing these areas of need.

The 8 Grand Challenges of Aging:

  1. Engagement & Purpose
  2. Financial Wellness
  3. Mobility & Movement
  4. Daily Living & Lifestyle
  5. Caregiving
  6. Care Coordination
  7. Brain Health
  8. End of Life

These eight challenges are all major difficulties of aging that most people will confront at some point in life. Fortunately, advancements in healthcare and technology each year help to make independent living more achievable for elderly adults. As a member of the Aging2.0 Alliance and provider of senior care services, we believe this initiative is important to our senior communities in Westchester County, NY, and Fairfield, CT. Here’s a look at how seniors in our local communities are combating the Grand Challenges of aging.

As a member of the Aging2.0 Alliance and provider of senior care services, we believe this initiative is important to our senior communities in Westchester County, NY, and Fairfield, CT.

Here’s a look at how seniors in our local communities are combating the Grand Challenges of aging.

Engagement & Purpose

Finding outlets to stay socially engaged in a way that provides a sense of purpose can be challenging for older adults. With the rapid rate the world progresses, it’s easy to feel behind trends at times and out of touch with the people around you.

To stay included and involved, seniors today commonly join senior centers to meet new people and volunteer through programs like AARP and the Senior Corps. There are many volunteer opportunities available for seniors to lend their wisdom to younger generations and make a difference within their local communities.

You can view a list of all the local senior centers and AARP locations in Westchester County, here!

Financial Wellness

Adults are living further into their senior years which makes managing a fixed income more important now than ever. Seniors who are feeling financial pressures are encouraged to contact their local Department of Senior Programs and ask about benefits and savings they may be eligible to receive.

Seniors also face many threats to their financial wellness such as identity theft and fraud. There are a number of mobile phone applications available that offer caller identification and fraud alerts like Truecaller.

(Top 10 Free Caller ID Apps)

For more information on how to financially plan for a better future in Westchester County, read the Guide to Saving Money for Westchester’s Seniors.

Mobility & Movement

Often the concern about senior transportation comes up when family members become worried over the safety of an aging loved one’s ability to drive. This can be a difficult conversation to bring up, as many older adults are accustomed to being independent on the road.

For seniors and families in Westchester County, the Older Driver Family Assistance Program can help you better communicate driver safety to your loved one as well as with transitioning to safer transportation options such as caregiver transportation or ride services like Uber.

Businesses like Uber are working on better solutions for easy transportation for seniors. Their current development Uber Central provides a centralized platform that enables senior centers and loved ones to manage and pay for rides.

Daily Living & Lifestyle

While most adults want to age in place, things like bathing, dressing, and meal preparation can become difficult with age. In the US, over one-third of seniors require assistance with activities of daily living.

Westchester Family Care offers seniors in Westchester County, NY, and Fairfield, CT with caregiving services that make activities of daily living easier for elderly loved ones.

There are also local programs available that help seniors keep a well-balanced diet. Westchester County’s Nutrition Program provides adults 60 years and better with access to dining centers as well as meal delivery for homebound seniors.

Caregiving

There are two types of caregivers: professional caregivers who provide assistance as their occupation and family caregivers whose loved one depends on them. Often, seniors are provided informal care from their loved ones, but there can be times when it’s difficult to provide the care and attention your loved one deserves.

Many families and seniors are turning to professional Home Health Aides, however, there are still concerns over lack of trust and sometimes guilt when placing the responsibility for your loved one in someone else’s hands.

Reputable senior care providers, like Westchester Family Care, help temper these concerns with thorough quality oversight and background checks (fingerprints, criminal history, health, and references). We also provide tools for caregivers to track and report your loved one’s activities so you always know what’s going on.

Care Coordination

Healthcare can become more complex as we age and face more illness and chronic conditions. Care coordination seeks to simplify senior care by improving the effectiveness of the health care system.

Many seniors have found success and have actually saved on medical costs by using a care coordinator such as a registered nurse to help work directly with you and primary care providers.

(Care Coordination Tips for the Long-Distance Caregiver)

To align our own services with the care coordination initiative, our registered nurses and care coordinators help to ensure that all healthcare services you require are being accounted for.

Brain Health

Cognitive issues like Alzheimer’s and depression are serious concerns as we age and it can be challenging to stay mentally active especially for isolated seniors. To keep seniors involved and included, many communities have local volunteers willing and excited to help seniors.

Westchester County’s  Care Circles as well as the Step Forward and Give Back program where volunteers from our local community help seniors with day-to-day tasks, transportation, and companionship.

End of Life

While listed as the last challenge, this might be the most difficult challenge families must prepare for, and it’s important to have the right mindset when planning for life after our own.

The National Institute on Aging recommends that seniors have these documents in place:

  • Will
  • Living will
  • Durable power of attorney for health care
  • Do-not-resuscitate (DNR) order
  • Durable power of attorney for finances
  • Living trust

Family members and friends can encourage seniors to have these documents in place by having these conversations early and keeping communication open.

Supporting the Grand Challenge Initiative in Westchester County

Westchester Family Care is proud to be apart of the Aging2.0 Alliance and support the Grand Challenges for aging seniors. The many resources that our local community provide help to make aging independently a greater possibility.

Need home care assistance for you or a loved one? Contact Westchester Family Care for compassionate support and home health services.

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