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Focusing on Adults 50+ in Mesa, Delta, Montrose and Garfield Counties

You’re never too old to play

May 14, 2012, noon

The Colorado Department of Human Services Aging and Adult Services Division encourages all Coloradans to live healthier lives. Healthy living can help prevent diseases and certain disabilities, and it can ensure that today’s older persons, as well as future generations, not only live longer, but better.

Older American Month is celebrated each May to honor and recognize older Americans for the contributions they make to our families, communities and society. To assist, our National Aging Network and other groups plan activities during the month of May or throughout the year. The Administration on Aging issues a theme for Older Americans Month. This year’s theme, “Never Too Old to Play,” encourages older Americans to stay engaged, active and involved in their own lives, and in their communities.

Unfortunately, the elderly sometimes miss out on family activities, or are excluded from fun events because of false beliefs and misconceptions about their age and abilities. The elderly are an important part of families and should be able to participate in family activities whenever possible.

Elderly family members are frequently able to do most of the things that everyone else does. It is unwise to assume that elderly individuals are unable to participate in fun activities because of their age alone. Don’t forget to invite your elderly relatives to your fun family activities.

In some cases, elderly people are affected by degradation of brain function and/or memory loss. It is important not to stigmatize elderly individuals who are afflicted with mental dysfunction or disease. Always remember that elderly people are victims of uncontrollable conditions and should not be abused or ridiculed for what they cannot change.

For elderly individuals who are affected by the challenges of declining brain function, simple activities are usually appropriate and appreciated. Sharing conversations, going for walks, or even singing songs can be helpful. Choose activities that allow them to use their cognitive abilities, but that are not so complicated as to confuse or frustrate them.

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