Home Mobility, Fitness and Fraud are our Topics for Older American Month.
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on Aging

May 2014


Home Mobility: It's all about planning

Danika Wilson, Occupational Therapist

 “I don’t move like I used to”
According to the Center for Disease Control website, 1 out of every 3 people over 65 experiences a fall each year.  Of these, only half report this to their health care provider. Alarmingly, people age 75 and older who fall are four to five times more likely than those age 65 to 74 to be admitted to a long-term care facility for a year or longer.  Do not wait for a trip to the emergency room to speak to your doctor!  If you feel light-headed or dizzy when standing as this could be a medical concern such as a medication or blood pressure issue.  Your doctor may also suggest an assessment for an inner ear condition called “Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo” for which there is successful treatment.  Also, physical exercise is not just a social event.  Increasing muscle strength not only increases endurance for daily activities, but also helps to protect bones from fractures, of which women are twice as likely to experience following a fall than men (CDC).  Many organizations including senior centers and assisted living facilities have exercise programs geared toward the physiological demands of older adults. 
“I knew I should have moved the…”
If you have experienced a fall, one of the first questions that should be asked is: “How can this incident be prevented in the future?”  Common situations that arise include hurrying too fast, navigating obstacles (or pets) even when using a walker or cane, decreased lighting in pathways, and the lack of stable, secure handholds when and where they are needed.  It is important to identify concerns before an accident happens.  No one plans to break a hip!  Look around you.  Are there clear spaces to walk?  Around doorways and stairs are there secure hand holds and/or areas to set objects to allow you to safely navigate steps?  How about hallway lighting at night from the bedroom to bathroom?  There are now many styles of night lights, both plug-in and LED battery operated, available to increase safe mobility.  This also speaks to the eye’s ability to adjust from dark to light areas, requiring extra time to accommodate for these changes.  How about once inside of the bathroom?  Are there stable handholds near the commode?   Bedside commodes can be used easily around a toilet as rails and be moved near the bed at night to increase safety during night-time urgency. 
While Occupational Therapists take an individualized look at personal factors such as health conditions, environmental factors, and the activities in which people participate in order to promote independence and safety at home and in the community, a comprehensive checklist that can be used to identify and discuss common safety concerns with family or friends can be found at: 


Senior Services Plus Health & Wellness Program
Helping seniors reach their personal fitness goals

On any given day at Senior Services Plus’s senior center in Alton, you will find seniors redefining what it means: to be retired, to be active, and to be healthy. 
For the past 8 years Senior Services Plus has been offering seniors what they want; a Health & Wellness center that focuses on their personal fitness needs.  “Everyone has different fitness needs and wants.  That’s why we work closely with members, helping them reach their fitness goals.”  Said Katie Richards Senior Services Plus Wellness Center Coordinator.  Every member of the Wellness Center receives an orientation that includes: a tour of the center, comprehensive fitness evaluation, and a description of the equipment & fitness classes.  “If someone hasn’t used a gym in years, the new equipment can be intimidating, which is why we explain every piece to them and how to use it.”  Said Katie. 
Their center is not a place where you spend 20 minutes on the treadmill then go home.  Instead it is a friendly atmosphere that promotes socialization between members.  They offer a variety of fitness classes, such as: yoga, Zumba, and chair exercises, more than 40 times a week. 
Health education is another important part of Senior Services Plus’s Wellness Center.  “It’s not all about getting them in shape; it is also about educating them about how to live a healthy lifestyle.”  Said Katie Richards.  That is why they choose to offer monthly Health & Wellness Seminars that focus on educating members on a variety of health & Wellness topics including: the difference between the cold & flu, what fats are good fats, and tracking your fitness. 
May 22, 8:00am-12:00pm- Healthy Living Expo- at Southwestern Illinois College Varsity Gymnasium, Belleville, IL .  For more information call 800-326-3221 or visit

May 26th-  Memorial Day.  The Area Agency on Aging will be closed.

June 11, 12:00-1:00pm- Snacks and Facts ' Home and Community Based Services', Fairview Heights Public Library.  For more information call 618-222-2561


If you would like to help us provide home and community based services, click on the donate now button.
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Join the members of the Advocacy Committee and help represent the interests of older persons to local level and executive branch officials, public and private agencies and organizations as well as monitor, evaluate, and where appropriate, comment on all policies, programs, hearings, levies, and community actions which affect older persons. 
If you are interested in participating in the Agency's Advocacy Meetings please email or call 618-222-2561,to receive regular meeting notices. 

Fraud In The News
The following are current news articles about health care and fraud issues.
1."FTC Stops Mass Telemarketing Scam That Defrauded U.S. Seniors and Others Out of Millions of Dollars” (FTC):
 2.“Don’t Get Nailed By a Home Improvement Scam” (FTC): 
3.“Lights Out for Fake Utility Bill Collectors” (FTC):
4.“Telephone Scam Alleging a Relative Is In a Financial or Legal Crisis” (IC3):

To read more about SMP and fraud click on the following link for the Illinois SMP Fraud Alert:

Helping seniors reach their personal fitness goals:

In addition to Health & Wellness seminars, Senior Services Plus offers fitness classes that promote an independent and healthy lifestyle.  The first class is Strong For Life, an fitness class that teaches members a basic fitness routine that they can perform in their home.  Strong for Life focuses on improving strength and flexibility, while also educating members on different ways to exercise outside of the gym. 
The next class is Chronic Disease Self-Management program.  The Chronic Disease Self-Management program is designed to help improve the lives of seniors living with chronic conditions.  The program focuses on 7 topics: 1) techniques to deal with problems such as frustration, fatigue, pain and isolation, 2) appropriate exercise for maintaining and improving strength, flexibility, and endurance, 3) appropriate use of medications, 4) communicating effectively with family, friends, and health professionals, 5) nutrition, 6) decision making, and, 7) how to evaluate new treatments.
“The goal is to have our members live an active and healthy lifestyle.  We want them to be aware of the benefits of fitness, and at the same time enjoy it.”  Said Katie.  Senior Services Plus provides programs and services to seniors throughout the St. Louis area, in Illinois and Missouri.  Helping seniors live an independent life in their communities. 

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Area Agency on Aging of Southwestern Illinois
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