Safe today, healthy tomorrow

Safe Today. Healthy Tomorrow. Older Americans Month 2014This year’s Older Americans Month’s theme, “Safe Today. Healthy Tomorrow,” focuses on safety and preventing injury, encouraging seniors to protect themselves to remain active and independent.

Presbyterian Manors of Mid-America provides services, support and resources to older adults year round. Seeking to be a trusted resource for information important to seniors, PMMA communities host Just Ask sessions free for anyone in the surrounding area, and some hold ongoing classes free to the public.

PMMA’s Just Ask series received the 2013 excellence in consumer education award from LeadingAge Kansas, an association of 160 not-for-profit aging services providers serving more than 20,000 seniors. PMMA was honored for strengthening the awareness of aging-related topics in communities across the state. Just Ask provides free information to the public, answering questions related to the process of aging, such as safety concerns for seniors or how to avoid scams targeting seniors.

“Presbyterian Manors of Mid-America is doing great work in communities across Kansas,” said Debra Zehr, CEO and president of LeadingAge Kansas. “This series demonstrates the important role that aging service providers have across the state – to educate and support
the community in caring for our elders. They are a resource and ally for families seeking excellent care for their aging family members.”

Falls are one of the leading causes of injury in older adults, and balance screenings can help them discover specific ways to reduce their fall risk. Just Ask balance screenings have been hosted at Emporia and other PMMA communities. In March, Emporia Presbyterian Manor took its balance Just Ask session to nearby Madison, Kan.

In partnership with RehabCare, PMMA’s rehabilitation provider, the balance screening tested upper and lower body strength, flexibility and endurance. By assessing the skills
used in everyday tasks such as carrying groceries or climbing stairs, participants better
understood their risks for falling. In addition, seniors received information from physical therapists about preventive measures as well as tips for improving balance.

Overall senior health screenings have been held as Just Ask sessions in Parsons, among other PMMA communities. Last summer, Parsons Presbyterian Manor hosted “Health to You” with free senior health screenings at the Parsons Senior Center with the help of RehabCare and Labette Community College School of Nursing. A variety of free health screenings for older adults were offered, including blood pressure and oxygen saturation readings, as well as balance assessments and tests for upper and lower body strength, flexibility and endurance.Older adults are at a much higher risk of unintentional injury than the rest of the population. Unintentional injuries to this population result in at least 6 million medically treated injuries and more than 30,000 deaths every year. The focus on safety during Older Americans Month is an opportunity to raise awareness about this critical issue. By taking control of their safety, older Americans can live longer, healthier lives.