CASA observes Older Americans Month
HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – Since 1963 the month of May has been recognized as Older Americans Month. This is a time to celebrate older Americans, their stories, and their contributions. The Administration for Community Living (ACL) has led this effort of annual observance through special opportunities to learn about, support, and recognize our nation’s citizens. This year’s theme, “Age Out Loud,” focuses on ways older adults are living their lives with boldness, confidence, and passion while serving as an inspiration to people of all ages. However, the Care Assurance System for the Aging and Homebound (CASA) of Madison County, feels this statement may be a bit misleading. Many of our aging citizens our unable to “Age Out Loud” with boldness and confidence.
CASA of Madison County has served in our community since 1979 and has continued to see increases in the need for their services, helping the aging and homebound remain safe and independent in their own homes as they attempt to age in place. According to an AARP survey, close to 90% of individuals over the age of 65 want to remain in their homes. This organization hopes everyone understands that not everyone is so fortunate to “Age Out Loud” in the way this year’s OAM theme is portraying. Many of CASA’s clients are living with multiple chronic illnesses that limit their mobility, their activity in the community, and many times these individuals will withdraw from their families as the world goes by without them. Families are also affected by the struggles that can occur in the aging process and many are not prepared to cope with the added concern and responsibilities.
CASA hopes to educate the Madison County community that our older generation needs us to not forget about them, but to reach out and give them a hand after they have given so much to us. CASA’s Executive Director, Ann Anderson, says that there is a misconception that these individuals just didn’t plan well. “Our clients worked hard for many years, at times working jobs that were back breaking work. They have earned my respect for what they did to help build our community into what it is today. Now, we get a chance to give back to them by making sure they have access to the outside world and that they feel safe while staying in their homes.”
Nationally every 11 seconds an older adult is treated in the ER for a fall; and every 19 minutes, an older adult dies from a fall, as reported by the National Council on Aging (NCOA). Considering the average age of a CASA client is 77 years old and the average life expectancy of a Madison County resident is 75, something is working for CASA and their clients. CASA provides needed services such as building wheelchair ramps for accessibility, installing grab bars and handrails for fall prevention, loaning durable medical equipment that improves independence, and providing transportation for access to medical appointments. Through these services and others, CASA staff and their many volunteers are able to stay in touch with their aging and homebound neighbors to encourage them to just do their best to “Age Out Loud.”
“That theme has a different meaning to us, we see this as an opportunity to be loud about the needs of our older generation. They are not gone, you just may not see them as much. Maybe they are afraid to use the stairs to get out of their home or maybe they no longer feel safe when trying to get around,” says Ms. Anderson. CASA can agree with one aspect of this year’s theme, Ms. Anderson states, “Our clients are an inspiration. Even though they may not be “Aging Out Loud” they are still seeking ways they can continue to maintain their independence and live to the best their bodies will allow. That is inspirational!”
CASA works with volunteers to provide their services and requires community donations to purchase necessary materials to keep their services free of charge for their clients. By the year 2030, 1 in 5 people will be over the age of 65, according to U.S. Census information. Senior service organizations are already seeing the effects of this population growth with an increase in demand for their services, but financial support is dropping. The Administration for Community Living (ACL) and others are sharing wonderful stories of successful aging, that CASA’s Executive Director fears may be partly due to blame for the misconception that our aging do not need our help. It is great to hear uplifting stories of successful aging, but for CASA’s nearly 2,600 clients that is just not the case. This is a population that will not often ask for a handout, but simply a hand up to keep them going.
You can be a part of CASA’s efforts to help our senior and homebound community members by volunteering or donating to their cause. Find out more on their website at casamadisoncty.org. CASA of Madison County is a local non-profit serving individuals 60 years old and older and individuals who are wheelchair bound our bedbound at any age to help them age in place through volunteer services.
Friday, May 19th, “A Night for CASA”, 6:30pm at Stone Event Center, Campus 805
Tickets are $125 per person.
To support CASA’s major annual fundraiser, visit their website at casamadisoncty.org, contact the CASA office at 256-533-7775, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
CASA (Care Assurance System for the Aging and Homebound) of Madison County is a non-profit agency located in Huntsville, Alabama. It provides volunteer services to assist with the unmet needs of aging and homebound (wheelchair or bedbound) individuals, which allow them to remain in their homes and age in place. For more information visit http://www.casamadisoncty.org.
Article provided by CASA of Huntsville/Madison County