As a nurse who specialized in Gerontology, my interest in this particular age group has remained keen, especially now that I am retired and I are one! Consequently, I am in the process of developing a website especially for us with some variations that differ from other websites. There are many sites for seniors, but I am looking for the unusual.I am also working on the health aspect for seniors aging effects, nutrition, etc. These pages will be uploaded as I complete them. I am particularly fond of adopting the blended approach to healing. I saw first-hand the shortcomings of drugs and their effects on the aging population. I have also watched improvements when alternative methods were implimented. When the body ages or becomes sick, it does not affect just one particular area of the body. It affects all of it. Therefore, we need a wholistic approach to care, and not just a systemic one.
Until then and since this site is ongoing, I hope you will find some ideas from the links below as to how you can better serve the aging persons near you. Remember, seniors are our living history and have a wealth of information to share if we but take the time to listen.
Although this site states that they are not adding any new names, I still like it for the idea. Hopefully, it will spur others to start something similar in their own area or beyond. Seniors love to receive mail, but many of them are not online. Sending cards or letters by other means is still an acceptable practice for most of them!
I liked this idea because it was started with a few persons who were concerned about those seniors who had no living relatives around them and who endure the season alone. Although the idea is for one time of the year, it can be developed to include all holidays and for sure, year-long contact. So often we pass out warm fuzzies at Christmas, but then neglect the thought the rest of the year. Not only that, but we tend to think of Christmas being only for children but are we not all that way inside?
When I was a nursing director of such homes, I always wanted an idea like this to be implemented. Thankfully, it is now becoming more popular. Developed by Dr. William Thomas, the Eden Concept is designed to nourish all people residents, staff, and visitors. The concept can also be implemented in group homes of all kinds. The companionship of children and animals in a green setting of plants, along with good food, is the Chicken Soup for the seniors soul.
- This site outlines the principles of the Eden Theory.
- This site takes a look at a day in the life at an Eden home. It also has many good links as playgrounds for all kids, including those with diabilities.
50Plus is a Canadian website that provides unique content for people over the age of 50. 50Plus is an affiliate of CARP, Canada’s largest 50 Plus advocacy group with more than 400,000 members. 50Plus offers thousands of articles dealing with the seniors lifestyle and retirement.
This site was developed by a senior himself. Ted Miller has long had a dream of using his property for growing good food for seniors in his area. I have been in contact with him over the last year or so and find him a very caring individual. Ted wanted to leave his land to an organization that would carry on his dream but no one wanted that stipulation. Ted also has several other websites.
- This one tells about how he wanted to leave his land for something special and about his vision for a better diet for seniors.
- This site is for the book that he has written about his travels. At the bottom are links to other sites, including that of his daughter who is a very talented artist.
We have been in contact with this senior as well. A composer of great talent, Richard Englefield is now selling some of his works. Although he was never a professional musician, his natural talent for composing stands above many who are considered to be professional composers.
UPDATE: Richard contacted us again with an additional website. This one is truly fascinating. Filled with pictures, Richard’s Journals is a definite encouragement for all seniors.
I like the Elderhostel concept of combining vacations with learning. As a family, we did that as our children were growing up and it still shows. Our children are doing the same and teaching their children to learn while having fun. All vacations can be a learning experience, if we but take the time to notice. Learning keeps the mind active long after the body gives out!
This is but one of many sites aimed at the senior who likes to compete in a variety of games. Almost every state and province in North America holds some kind of competition especially for this age group. While many keep physically fit, others go on to take part in such games as these. Good for them!!
This site encourages seniors to volunteer and includes links to places that are looking for senior volunteers. Some of the links are broken, however. Although care should be taken with some of these links, the basic idea is there. The poem is particularly good.
Seniors Helping Seniors
Wired Seniors is a website that invites questions from seniors that are answered by seniors. There are many categories from which to choose, except for financial, health, or legal questions. Some of the categories include trading houses for a different kind of vacation, radio programs for seniors, and a discount shopping mall where seniors can find all sorts of products at a reduced rate.
This is a similar site to the one above, but geared toward Canadian Seniors. There are links where seniors can find groups in their own province, as well as so many others from which to choose. Some of the stories that have been gathered are quite interesting and touching, to say the least, and show that there is a wealth of literary talent still alive in our older citizens.
Since we live in this area, I have posted this website as a way for seniors in other areas to look for something similar closer to home. SHIP (Seniors Housing Information Program) is a non-profit program that provides a wealth of information for seniors in the Vancouver area so that they can maintain a healthy and independent lifestyle. Services, provided by both staff and volunteers, are free and include all seniors whether they are in their own homes, at risk of homelessness, or who do not have the support of family or friends.
There are many websites on gardening for the senior age group. I chose this one only as an example. Quite a number of cities now support neighbourhood gardening groups that go in and take over an ugly vacant lot and turn it into a showpiece and even something useful as a vegetable garden. There are seniors who are still in their own homes who gladly allow special groups to come in and use their property in exchange for some of the goodies that are grown there, of course.
Birdwatching Tours for Seniors
Again, there are many such tours for seniors and this site was chosen only as an example. Sometimes all we need is an example or an idea to spur us on to finding something in our own area and that will fit our pocketbook or energy level. Our young grandsons in Mexico are now avid birdwatchers as they are in a fly-zone for many species heading south or north, depending on the season. Having obtained a good bird-identifier book and some binoculars, they started out with a list of 25 birds. That number has since grown.
Trains and Gardens
For the hobbyist who loves model railroads and gardening, this retired electrical wireman has developed his dream into quite a showpiece. There are railroading groups all over. My husband, Duane, has these special interests as well. When we lived in Dallas, Texas, he was a member of the Age of Steam Railroad Museum and would conduct tours. As well, he took a train program to children in about 50 libraries in and around Dallas. Having used trains to a great extent back in the 1940s and 50s, his love for them has only increased and only a true railroad enthusiast will understand. An account of this can be seen here
For those who loved those old-time radio programs, this site is for you. It was developed by Jerry Haendiges and includes (at the bottom) links to several old-time radio sites, including one where you can see pictures of the old radios.
This site provides a vast array of links for the crossword puzzle enthusiast. It even includes links to crossword dictionaries and other word games. Keeping the mind active in this manner is fundamental to staving off dementia. Remember, it is not only the physical body that needs to be kept healthy, but also the mind and spirit. According to a 21-year study in the US, seniors who did crossword puzzles four days a week had a 47% lower risk of dementia than those who did puzzles only once a week.
Games for Seniors
A site provided by the Burlington (Ontario) Public Library, it lists links to all sorts of games to keep the mind active. Games is but one way to do that. Participation in group discussions, reading, and taking courses of all kinds can help keep the mind as active as it should be.
Adopt A Senior Program
I included this site only as an example. Looking for such sites proved to be almost non-existent, even though almost every community has one. Adopting a senior can be done by anyone other seniors, a family, a school group, or simply by a caring individual. Some seniors need viable help with groceries, utilities, or other such needs. But most of them just want someone with whom to talk. Ask any 911 service and they will tell you that they do receive repeated calls from certain seniors with imagined problems, simply so that someone will come and talk to them for a few minutes. Nursing homes are another prime example. Physical neglect is not always the main problem in these homes, but it is mostly mental neglect. This is not always because the staff does not care, but because they are too overworked to have the luxury of a few minutes conversation and believe me, they do try; but the pressure is always on to hurry so as not to pay overtime. So, adopt a senior in your area. It is so easy and so worthwhile because not only will you be helping another, but you will gain much more than you give.
This site is from our local area in Vancouver where the idea expressed in the Adopt-A-Senior blurb is carried out. Again, this is only an example of what can be done in your own area.
Thurston County, Washington
The article on this particular page describes just how valuable seniors are and what they are still capable of. Thurston County is not alone. All people can use this as an example of their own hidden resources. Seniors are called Golden for a reason, so, pan for gold seek them out in your area and use their many talents. And seniors, get out and volunteer! As this article states, A study at the University of Michigan followed seniors over a course of 7 1/2 years and found that volunteering increases life expectancy. All other longevity-related variables were controlled in the study, which found 76 percent of volunteering seniors were alive at the end of the study, compared with 26 percent of non-volunteering seniors.
Multnomah County Library, in Oregon, designed this site especially for seniors who wanted to learn more about using the internet. Every library has an instruction program of some kind for anyone who wants to learn about computers. What is unique about this site is that it has tutorials where you can learn all about computers from the privacy of your own home as well as how to use email. Emails have been particularly meaningful to me. My parents surprised me just a few years ago by obtaining a computer and sending me an email before I even knew they were thinking of having a computer. My mother and I emailed each other often after that. It was so much faster than “donkey-post”. Now that she is gone, I do miss this even more. My dad loves to receive emails, but arthritis prevents him from sending any. All seniors love to receive mail whether it is by electronic means or any other. But, learning how is the first step.
About.com offers some good entertainment ideas in which seniors can participate, no matter where they are. There are always choices other than the local seniors group. Pairing up with a friend makes the event even more enjoyable.