MAKE $10 & GIVE YOUR OPINION
Participate in a Legal Case Focus Group
Monday, February 11, 2019 from 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m.
(sign up, first come first served)
The Bidegaray Law Firm will hold a focus group at the Bozeman Senior Center. Sometimes these run a few minutes longer if the participants want. The firm will pay $10 per focus group participant. All backgrounds are encouraged to apply. During the focus group you will discuss issues from an actual Montana case. They are looking for participants to provide their brutally honest opinions, as the conscience of the community. All opinions are welcome - no one is right or wrong. Focus group participants normally enjoy the process. Call the Center at 586-2421 and sign up as seating is limited to six to eight people. If this turns out to be as popular as we think, we may make it a monthly event. Call your friends, this is open to the public.
Making Senior Homes Accessible After Loss of Mobility
Most seniors struggle with balancing their assistance needs against their pride and desire for independence. This becomes increasingly relevant when a senior suffers from a loss of mobility. An older adult may be cognitively as sharp as ever but due to a bad hip or joint problem may feel helpless. Aging in place is a movement growing in popularity that advocates keeping seniors in an independent living situation - ideally their own home - as long as possible. When a senior is permitted to live at home, their quality of life tends to degrade less, and the high cost of assisted living can be put off of eliminated. Mobility problems add a hurdle to the aging in place process.
As HomeAdvisor notes, “For seniors to keep their independence, they must have a safe environment to live in. Safe is a relative term that must factor in a person’s individual needs. Understanding your health, medical conditions and any complications that may arise is the first step to staying in your own home.” Once you have a firm understanding of the challenges before you, you can then assess your home to determine the feasibility of aging in place.
Loss of mobility
Mobility loss has profound implications on an older adult. Tasks that once were simple become mountainous. Mobility loss can be moderate, such as the inability to walk for long distances, or a complete loss of the use of one’s legs. Today’s world is defined by our ability to move around easily, and few homes are designed to accommodate walkers, scooters or wheelchairs. Even so, loss of mobility is the most common disability among seniors. A full two-thirds of those over 65 who report having at least one disability have trouble walking or climbing. For these seniors, daily living is difficult - a shaky foundation for aging in place.
Fortunately, there are several ways to make homes more accessible and often major renovations are not required.
Since a large portion of the senior popular desires to living in their own homes as long as possible, there has been a proliferation of aging-in-place contractors and home remodelers. These professionals understand common limitations, such as the kind suffered by those with mobility problems and are skilled in providing appropriate solutions. Many of these remodelers are certified in accessibility products and building guidelines. They provide services such as widening doorways, adding handrails and entrance ramps. They also advise on products, such as easy-entrance tubs, stair lifts, lighting and climate control solutions that may be helpful for a particular senior. Their experience and knowledge helps them identify the need for more specified design, such as ensuring adequate turning ratios in hallways and rooms - an often neglected consideration in accessibility modifications. Ultimately, their services help reduce concerns so that seniors can live normal lives as long as possible.
In addition to addressing current concerns, home accessibility modification should be forward thinking to anticipate for future needs.
Paying for accessibility
Since renovations and accessibility modifications can be costly, it’s helpful to know that some assistance may be available. State and local governments may provide programs that help seniors with energy assistance and accessibility renovations, and there may be other sources of assistance such as grants, low-interest loans and volunteer labor. Seniors should all funding options, as there may be assistance that is not widely publicized.
Aging in place is a common goal for today’s seniors. It helps older adults save money and retain independence longer. Through accessibility modification, even those with debilitating mobility limitations can remain at home.
by Hazel Bridges
Photo Credit: Pixabay
The end of 2017 is quickly approaching and I’ve been reflecting on this year. You see in March I turned 65 and when I did I decided the twelve months following it were going to be all about me. That seems selfish doesn’t it? But what better year than a person’s 65th to start looking at what they have achieved, what they still want to do and what needs to change to make those new realities occur?
Did you know you can join the Bozeman Senior Center at the age of fifty? You can, but I waited until I was in my sixties to join. I confess that the first few years I didn’t do much with my yearly membership. You see, I didn’t think it could have much that would interest me. After all I was only in my early sixties, healthy, had friends, liked a vigorous workout – certainly the senior center wouldn’t offer that – and hadn’t worked jigsaw puzzles in years. Oh I knew it had a nice wood working shop, but I don’t do that and it has a nice store called Second Hand Rose that I would check out occasionally, but really what could it offer me? I had a very narrow view of what the senior center offered its members.
For many years I had the privilege of serving on the Board of Directors of a local non-profit called Befrienders. They serve a component of the senior population that benefits from a volunteer meeting with them for just one hour a week for companionship and support while playing games, going out for an activity or lunch or even grocery shopping. The reason I mention that is the Befrienders office is in the Bozeman Senior Center so I often went there to see the Executive Director. But while there what I observed were a lot of older people sitting around and visiting, working on a jigsaw puzzle, reading, napping and eating lunch together. It didn’t seem very exciting and it started forming an image in my mind that the senior center would never be a place for me. However, I didn’t look very deeply into what else the senior center offered. Perhaps we only look for what we want to see. Did I go into the senior center with some pre-conceived notions and that was what I looked for in its activities?
I had the opportunity to grow up with my dad’s mom living with us. As I look back on my childhood I remember when I thought people, like my parents, in their forties were old and people in their sixties were ancient so at sixty five am I ancient? Remember when you were ten or fourteen and you looked at people in their fifties and sixties and all you saw were wrinkles on their faces and how they sat around and watched T V? My dad’s mom was not able to live on her own, but my mom’s parents did and they lived active lives. But the one who influenced me the most was the grandmother who lived with us. She had beautiful white hair, diabetes, a lot of wrinkles and she crocheted. As a young woman (we sometimes forget that elderly people were once young) she was a teacher in a one room school house in Illinois and she had a lot of patience with me. I had a severe speech impediment and she is the one who worked with me to overcome it. She literally gave me my voice.
Every summer we went to at least two family reunions and yes they were full of “old people” who again seemed to sit around and talk about the past and only the past. Being young I was looking to the future not the past so I didn’t understand the fascination with reminiscing about the past. The reunions were another part of what formed my views of old age and people in the “twilight years of their lives” as it was referred to.
We often don’t realize what is influencing us and to what degree until we get older and start viewing the world from our childhood preconceived notions. It’s called a World View - how we see the world and it can be hard to change those views. But then I turned sixty-five.
There is nothing magical about that number. I was already a grandma with seven grandchildren, I have wrinkles and I like to talk about the past with them, especially with my son’s two daughters. I share stories with them about their Scandinavian great grandmother and I tell them stories about my childhood so they will better understand where they come from and the foundation of the World View they are forming for their lives.
It sounds like a lot of the things that I observed as a child are now coming out in me as they are in people at the Bozeman Senior Center and thousands of other senior centers in the United States and the world. A place where people can gather with other people who understand them as they share like interests and memories where they can laugh together and support one another.
I started this by saying I decided to make these twelve months of my sixty fifth year of life about me so let’s step back to March of this year and how it came to be that I am now a regular at the Bozeman Senior Center and discovered that I was a Senior Center Snob who thought it could never offer me anything that would interest me.
Every month an insert called Prime, which says it’s a “Magazine For Mature Adults” is put in our local newspaper the Chronicle and is delivered to thousands of homes throughout Gallatin County. In April it arrived in our home and as I looked through it for the first time I saw that the Bozeman Senior Center offered a “Creative Writing” group. I am not a writer and would never claim to be, but I do like putting words to paper and used to do a lot of it and as I thought about it I decided I would go to the creative writing group and see what it was about. After all, perhaps a part of these twelve months being about me could include writing and begin the process of putting down the stories that I was telling Kali and Satory, my granddaughters, on to paper.
My first Tuesday at the group was April 4th and I have become a regular member. I don’t always have something to read but I go so I can hear what the other members have written. Betty writes poetry and loves to write poems for her friends, co-workers and other volunteers at the senior center. Betty arrives very early at the senior center every day to start setting up for Meals on Wheels. Her dedication to the program is an inspiration to others who observe her but even more so when you realize she is in her eighties.
Another member of the group is Joy and her name describes her personality. She is a complete joy to be around and she is a volunteer at the senior center. She helps put the place settings on the tables for lunch and she is also in her eighties.
The Bozeman Senior Center offers a variety of exercise classes from strength training and core classes to an aerobics plus class that has a participant sweating laughing and realizing the class is not for sissies. There is gentle aerobics, Tai Chi and yoga and other exercise classes to fit people’s needs and interests. Who knew it offered so many options and the cost for all of them is only an additional $10.00 a month. Oh, do you like to line dance? You can do that at the senior center too.
I recently had my yearly physical and as the doctor was running through his litany of questions he asked if I was still working out and I said yes, but not where I had been. I told him I was now working out at the Bozeman Senior Center and I was ready for a dubious look from him and I got it. I laughed and told him about the various exercise classes it offers and told him about the classes I was doing. He was surprised by all that I was telling him and I challenged him to come to the Bozeman Senior Center on his day off and do the Core and Aerobics Plus classes with me and learn more about the center. He was like me and had a preconceived notion about senior centers and members and it did not jive with what I was telling him. I was starting to break his ideas of what a senior center offers its members and that they don’t just sit around on rocking chairs working jig saw puzzles or taking naps.
Senior centers are a place to socialize, find volunteer opportunities, come together for meals and participate in programs that utilize a person’s skills. The Bozeman Senior Center offers exercise classes but also hiking and walking programs in the summer and cross country skiing in the winter. There is a recreation room, and a computer center where you can use the computers or have one-on-one instruction. There are travel opportunities and health services like blood pressure checks and foot clinics.
As I spend more time at the senior center I realize how narrow minded I was about what they offer to so many different needs and interests. There are other senior centers in our area. They include: Belgrade, Manhattan, Three Forks, Pony and Livingston. This past fall we had a group come in from another large town in Montana who were in the area for a day trip and they stopped at the Bozeman Senior Center and I happened to be there at the time. It was fascinating for me to watch them and listen to their comments about our senior center. It was larger than theirs, offered more opportunities than theirs did and they were amazed by the Second Hand Rose Thrift Store – they practically bought it out. It felt like locust descending on Eastern Montana. I think we can take for granted what the Bozeman Senior Center offers its members who range in age from fifty to ninety-five and older.
Let me ask you a few questions. Do you like to play bridge or cribbage? Would you like to join a book club? Would you like to learn how to play the guitar or join a singing group? Would you like to go to Greece, take a cruise to Alaska or go to Branson Missouri? Those are just a few of the many opportunities that the Bozeman Senior Center offers.
Let me ask you one last question. Did you know all of this existed at the Bozeman Senior Center? If you don’t live in Bozeman do you know what the senior center in your community offers relatives or yourself? Or are you like I was, a Senior Center Snob who somehow thinks your above it and therefore don’t look into all of its marvelous programs and people who are there just waiting for you to come and be an integral instrumental part of a vibrant community?
Don’t wait, as a whole new world awaits you when you walk through the doors of your local senior center.
by Andrea (Andi) Woodley
Clinic Nurses: Are you a nurse with extra time on your hands? Or a nurse who is simply looking to volunteer? We have just the opportunity for you! We are looking for nurses who are passionate about the aging population & can help serve our Foot Clinic Clients.
The Foot Clinic is a service to those over 50 years of age who need help trimming nails and caring for their feet. We cannot accept clients who are diabetic or on any type of blood thinner, such as Coumadin. We currently have four nurses who volunteer their time and expertise in serving our clients. Our Foot Clinic is held the third and fourth Mondays, both morning and afternoons, as well as the third and fourth Tuesdays afternoons of each month. We offer opportunities to volunteer as nurses and receptionists. The receptionists assist with checking clients in, answering the phone and scheduling future appointments. We would love to have you join our team!
Meals-on-Wheels Piggy Bank Campaign! Are you looking for a way to be involved in your community but do not have a lot of free time? Well, we have a fun & easy way for you to help fund our Meals-on-Wheels Program! Drop by the center, pick up a pig-piggy bank, bring that pig back to us, FULL of loose change, & wa-la! You have just helped us to continue serving over 80 Meals-on-Wheels clients.
P.S. Bring in a full pig & lunch is on us!
Phone Number: 406-586-2421
Hours: Monday-Friday 8:30am-4:30pm