Older Americans Month
The Administration for Community Living (ACL) has announced this year’s theme for Older Americans Month is “Make Your Mark”, which celebrates older adults’ contributions to our communities. This theme also highlights the difference that older Americans (and everyone else) can make in the lives of older adults, in support of caregivers, and in strengthening communities.
Many older adults “make their mark” through volunteering. At Old Colony Elder Services (OCES), one of 25 Aging Services Access Points (ASAPs) in Massachusetts, volunteers generously give their time and effort to support many OCES and Community Service Partner Programs that assist those in need in the community. For example, OCES serves 1,700 meals each weekday as part of its Meals on Wheels (MOW) Program with the help of nutrition program volunteers who perform countless tasks. OCES’ Money Management Program (MMP) volunteers assist older adults with bill paying, reconciling bank statements, balancing checkbooks and in special cases, negotiating debt with creditors. OCES’ Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) volunteers help local agencies such as Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital, Plymouth and Brockton Public Schools Reading Program, and Veteran Services. Older adults who volunteer play a significant role in helping to make a positive difference in the lives of their neighbors in the community.
During the week of May 6 to May 12, we celebrate National Nurses Week but it is important to acknowledge that 2020 has been marked as the year of the nurse! At OCES, our team of nurses ensures that older adults thrive in the community by helping them meet their long-term personal and health goals.
Through OCES’ Home Care (HC) program and Adult Family Care (AFC) program, OCES’ registered nurses provide care to older adults through nursing assessments, which include psychosocial assessment and nutrition assessments. These assessments review an older adult’s health and welfare, medical conditions and limitations, fall risk, the need for personal care, formal and informal supports, among other needs. After an assessment, OCES’ nurse then draws from community resources and programs to help provide services that an older adult needs. For example, an OCES nurse can inform an older adult about medication side effects that may increase risk of falls, and also make a referral to a program such as “A Matter of Balance” to help reduce their risk of falls, and preventable hospitalizations. Essentially, the overarching role of OCES nurses is that of an advocate, educator and resource.
In just about every healthcare setting, whether it’s a doctor’s office, hospital, health care service agency or home care service provider, nurses are central in the delivery of care and are on the front line to protect our older Americans who are at most risk.
OCES recognizes and celebrates the contributions of older adults and nurses – particularly during this incredibly challenging time in history. They deserve our deepest appreciation for their ongoing efforts, which make a difference in the lives of the individuals they serve. Their dedication to helping others not only strengthens our communities, but makes the world a better place.