Every year in May, Older Americans Month recognizes the contributions of older adults across the nation.
This year’s theme of Older Americans Month is “Connect, Create and Contribute”, according to Administration for Community Living to encourage older adults to create and connect with their communities and continue to contribute their talents and life experiences to benefit others.
To celebrate Older Americans month I put together a list (not exhaustive) to help older adults connect, create, and contribute! The list is comprised of programs and services available to help older adults stay active, remain safe, and stay as independent as possible for as long as possible. As an assistive technology consultant, I often steer older adults and their families to these connections after identifying their assistive technology needs. Now I’m passing that list onto you to share with others!
- Aging and Disability Resource LINK (ADRL) – Website that connects people to services to help them maintain or improve their quality of life. Explore this site to see services and supports available in your ND community.
- ND Senior Service Providers – These entities connect senior citizens with services for dining plans, outreach, health options, transit and legal assistance.
- Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) – Connects eligible low-income families with financial assistance for home heating costs. Cooling assistance is also available for those 60 years of age and older who qualify for LIHEAP.
- Aging Services – Department of Human Services, Aging Services Division, connect older adults with physical disabilities to programs and services they administer to live safely in the least restrictive appropriate setting. Example of a couple programs:
- Home and Community Based Care
- Family Caregiver Support Program
- ND School for the Deaf (NDSD)– NDSD connects all citizens who are deaf or hard of hearing (infants through senior citizens) with a comprehensive continuum of services and education.
- ND Vision Services/School for the Blind (NDVS/SB)– NDVS/SB connects persons of all ages who are blind or visually impaired to center based programming and regional outreach services.
- Vocational Rehabilitation (VR)– Department of Human Services, Vocational Rehabilitation Services Division, provide a program to connect those who are 55 year of age and older and are experiencing a vision loss with services to assist individuals improve their independence in their homes and communities through their Older Individuals Blind program. VR also offers a separate Employment Program for those who are blind or visually impaired.
- ND Assistive – We provide assistive technology services to older adults (really all ages) all year round! ND Assistive is always looking for different ways to create activities and share information designed to highlight how assistive technology can help older adults remain independent, active, and safe. Here are just a couple programs we administer to help seniors remain at home independent and safe:
- Specialized Telephone Program -Provides free specialized telecommunications equipment or adaptions for those with severe hearing, speech, or physical disabilities that would otherwise not be able to use a telephone independently.
- Senior Safety Program – Provides assistive technology that will help seniors 60 years of age and older make daily life easier and help remain safe in their homes.
- AARP North Dakota – AARP creates information, advocacy and service for their members to make life better as individuals’ age.
- LifeSpan Emergency Respite Services – This service will contribute funding for respite services for caregivers in emergency situations when caregivers do not have access to other payment services.
- Homestead Property Tax Credit – ND property tax credit contributes help to individuals who are 65 years of age or older or who are permanently disabled to reduce their property taxes.
- State Health Insurance Counseling (SHIC) Program – SHIC contributes free help with Medicare and other health insurance for those individuals that need assistance to navigate through the processes and products of Medicare and other health care coverage.
Take time, not just during the month of May, but all year long to remember older adults and the people who serve them as fundamental and important members of our community. Pay special attention to the roles older adults fill as volunteers, leaders, caregivers, and more. That is why it is so important they receive the assistive technology and services they need to continue participating as vital and active members in all areas of life.
Please visit ND Assistive to learn about how we can help support our nation’s older adults connect, create, and contribute with assistive technology!