RESOURCES FOR OLDER ADULTS
Learn more about common healthcare topics that affect older adults and how to improve the healthcare you receive as an older adult patient.
Safety and Wellness
These resources can help you navigate important issues in life like finding affordable food, paying your utilities, and staying socially connected.
COVID-19 has certainly cause concern for everyone. Fortunately, there are local, state, and national resources designed to help older adults with their specific needs. Below are resources grouped by needs to help older adults stay well and stay connected!
- Social and Mental Health Support
- This flyer, created by the Department of Elder Affairs, gives tips on working through mental and emotional stress and taking care of yourself during the pandemic.
- The Tallahassee Senior Center UPSLIDE Program provides telephone or video-based counseling for depression, loneliness, becoming more socially engaged, and developing healthy coping skills and habits. If you are 50+ in the Tallahassee area and want more information, contact Melanie Lachman, LCSW.
- The AARP Friendly Voices program allows people to request a call from a volunteer to just chat and connect. Fill out the form on the AARP Friendly Voices website or call 1-888-281-0145 to leave your information and receive a callback.
- The National Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have collected resources that provide advice on how to work through stress and take care of yourself every day in the wake of the pandemic.
- Dementia Care Support
- Isolation and confinement can be especially hard on persons with dementia and their caregivers. The Center for Applied Dementia has created a number of tools and resources to promote engagement in those with dementia even during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- The Alzheimer’s Project is offering counseling, support groups, case management and dementia care consultations, and even respite virtually. Contact them at 1-850-386-2778 for more information.
- Check out the Alzheimer’s Association’s resources on COVID-19 and dementia and learn about their 24/7 support during the pandemic.
- The National Council on Aging’s website on COVID-19 resources for Older Adults and Caregivers features information on help during the pandemic in all aspects of life, from finding affordable food and voting to transportation and paying your bills.
- COVID-19 has increased the need for food distribution across communities. Second Harvest of the Big Bend has modified their delivery schedule and process to help meet this need in Florida’s Big Bend region.
- Both local and state resources were gathered by the Tallahassee Senior Center and organized into topical fact sheets including communication resources, scam information, hurricane preparedness, and telemedicine during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Telehealth visits have become more common because of the need to socially distance during COVID-19. Here are some tips on how to prepare for and use telehealth visits with your doctor.
- COVID-19 scams are an increasing issue as the pandemic continues, including those targeting older adults. They attempt to bill Medicare for sham tests or treatments related to the virus, and illegally obtain money or Medicare numbers. To learn more about how to spot and scam and protect you and your loved ones, visit the Senior Medicare Patrol’s website on COVID-19 Fraud.
Medications can be a necessary part of a treatment plan. Learn more about which medications may increase your risk for serious side effects and what you can do to keep yourself safe when taking medications. Older adults can lower the chance of medication-related problems by:
- Keeping a list of all the medications you take — both non-prescription and prescription. You should also write down the doses and bring the list with you whenever you see a healthcare professional.
- Check out Health in Aging’s website to learn all about Medications in Older Adults.
- Asking what side effects your medications can cause. If you think you may be having a bad response to a medication, or if you think a medication is not working, tell your healthcare provider as soon as possible. However, don’t stop taking a medication without first checking with a healthcare professional.
- Asking your healthcare provider if medications you are taking have potentially dangerous side effects.
Medications can be dangerous if misused or taken in a way that was not instructed by your provider or pharmacist. Store strong medications, such as prescription opioids, safely and do not share them with others.
- Flip the Script on Pain explains strategies for safe use of pain medicine, what to do if misuse is a concern, and more.
- Know Your Rights Risks and Responsibilities– This handout, obtained from Allied Against Opioid Abuse, provides tips on preventing opioid misuse and abuse through learning your rights when prescribed an opioid, the risks of opioid use, and your responsibilities in safe use.
Learn more about how to keep yourself feeling mentally healthy. Find out what is a normal part of aging and what to do if you have concerns.
Depression is NOT a normal part of aging. Older adults are at a higher risk of depression because they often have chronic health conditions. Depression is a treatable condition!
- Learn more about depression in older adults and treatment options by visiting Depression and Older Adults by the National Institute on Aging.
- This video from the Tallahassee Senior Center talks about ways to nurture mental health.
- The Jewish Federations of North America is home to the Center on Aging and Trauma. They have gathered helpful resources on older adults and trauma, including facts and myths about aging with trauma and person-centered, trauma-informed care.
Dementia is a group of conditions that impair one’s thinking, communication, function, and personality. Depending on the level of impairment, someone with dementia may require assistance with daily life activities such as grocery shopping and handling finances to eating and bathing.
- The Alzheimer’s Association has created a checklist of early warning signs of dementia. Talk with your primary care provider if you are concerned about memory loss or other difficulties you may be experiencing.
- Memory Disorder Clinics are a great resource for being tested for dementia, they also offer support connecting families to resources and helpful education to help individuals manage symptoms of dementia. Use this map to find a Florida Memory Disorder Clinic near you.
- The Alzheimer’s Project is a Big Bend dementia care organization. Their Resource Manual provides information about local services provided throughout the Big Bend Area for needs such as home care, Elder Law, and more.
- REACH has created a handout on how to respond in a helpful way to those you care for with behavioral symptoms of dementia.
Staying active is an important piece of staying healthy. Learn more about how to maintain mobility and prevent falls so that you can stay active.
- The National Council on Aging has many falls prevention tips. Visit Preventing Falls: Tips for Older Adults and Caregivers to watch a short video that explains 6 steps to prevent a fall.
- Health In Aging’s tip sheet on walking provides tips on how to get started walking no matter your mobility level, and how to walk safely.
- When to begin using a cane or walker and which to choose if necessary are important decisions. The Nevada Interprofessional Healthy Aging Network created a tip sheet on navigating these choices, answering questions you may have along the way.
- As people age, they’re at a greater risk for many eye diseases and conditions — but vision loss doesn’t have to be a normal part of aging. The National Eye Institute has many resources, both in Spanish and English, on topics such as preventing eye diseases as you get older, vision changes as you age, and dilated eye exams.
Getting the Care You Want
You are the most important member of your health care team. Learning ways to talk with your healthcare providers is important to getting the care you want. Talk to your healthcare provider about what is important in your life, or what you worry about not being able to do. This can help guide the conversation around treatment options, and if the risks and benefits of those treatments match your preferences. This section includes a checklist of important questions and other resources that can help with decisions around issues such as end of life care.
Medicare’s informational site on the Annual Wellness Visit describes who would be eligible for and what is included in such a visit.
Finding helpful and accurate information online can prove to be very challenging. The National Institute of Health has put together some tips and best practices on using the internet, social media, and mobile apps to help answer health-related questions.
Understanding medical risk can be important in making decisions about your health. The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health has created a video and fact sheet to help you make sense of risk in healthcare.
Advance Care Planning
- The Conversation Start Kit from the Institute for Healthcare Improvement and The Conversation Project is a resource that can help people have conversations around end of life care.
- This Advance Care Planning handout created from Empath Health and the FSU COM NCF-GWEP helps define terms around advance care planning and provides conversation starters and questions on getting your affairs in order.
- To help people be prepared for the legal and financial consequences of serious illness such as dementia, the National Institute on Aging has put together a helpful collection of articles on planning in these areas after a diagnosis.