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Technology and Optimal Aging

Technology is constantly changing.  Whether it is a television, phone, or computer; the technology within these devices is being improved continuously.  Would it not be nice if the cells in our body behaved in the same manner of constant improvement? However, this is not the case.  So why not use the two areas together to create a synergy between technology and aging?  Numerous products are being developed to help with the challenges experienced among aging adults. 

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Falls in Older Adults

Falls are the leading cause of fatal and nonfatal injuries in older adults.[i] More than one in four older adults fall every year and less than half will tell their doctor.[ii] Nearly 1 out of 5 falls cause a serious injury such as a broken bone or a head injury.[iii] Many older adults who fall even if they are not injured develop a fear of falling and reduce their activity which in turn increases their risk for falling. Falls can lead to a loss of independence and ability to perform everyday activities. With more than 10,000 Americans turning 65 each day, falls are a growing and significant public health problem.

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Mental Health, Depression, & Older Adults

Older adults have an increased risk for mental illnesses because of the losses that can accompany the aging process. Many older adults have lost their independence, friends, family members and social roles. Even with this increased risk for mental health challenges, many older adults do not receive the treatment they need due to stigma of mental health and the frequent situation where signs of mental illnesses are looked and dismissed as normal symptoms of aging, such as slowing of thought, memory, and thinking, hearing loss, vision loss, and physical decline (National Institute of Mental Health, 2019).

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Project ECHO: A Tele-Mentoring Movement Transforming Healthcare

What is Project ECHO?

Among the many challenges Kentuckians face in rural and underserved communities is healthcare access. This is especially true for older adults. In these communities, it can be difficult for individuals to find providers close to them who are educated in the complexities of caring for older adults. In 2018, the UofL Institute for Sustainable Health & Optimal Aging began using a new technology and training model, called Project ECHO®, to address this issue head-on.

Project Echo® (Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes) is a tele-mentoring movement dedicated to sharing knowledge and amplifying the capacity of health care professionals to provide best practice care for underserved people all over the world. Recognizing a need for increased specialists, particularly in rural communities, Project ECHO utilizes the teleconferencing platform Zoom to create hub-and-spoke knowledge sharing networks around the world. By creating communities of learning Project ECHO improves treatment by moving information instead of people.

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Microclinics: Community Empowerment Approach to Health & Wellbeing

Microclinic FacilitatorsMicroclinic Facilitators at first training in July 2018

The Microclinic Model Team is a unique approach to community health and wellness.

A ‘microclinic’ is not a small building, but a human infrastructure - a health management collective composed of people who share access to education, technology and social support as members work together to prevent and manage deadly disease.  Microclinics are formed organically from extended families, small businesses, church groups, and more. Rather than attempting to create a new social support system, microclinics galvanize existing social networks. Built on relationships and social capital rather than bricks and mortar, microclinics put the power of health directly into the hands of the community.

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National Caregivers Month: Compassionate Caregiving for Persons with Alzheimer's Disease

 

November is National Family Caregivers Month, a time to celebrate and recognize the estimated 44 million caregivers throughout the United States. At the Institute for Sustainable Health & Optimal Aging, we would like to honor all of the caregivers that are providing care to persons with Alzheimer’s Disease (AD). Caregiving can be a stressful experience for both the caregiver and the care receiver. Understanding how to incorporate compassion into the caregiving experience can help alleviate some of this burden.

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Age-Friendly Cities: A Global Initiative with Local Impact

The age-friendly city movement is taking off in cities and communities around the world – including right here in Louisville.  

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The Flourish Index: Tracking Human Flourishing as part of Integrated Care Models

Flourishing refers to the experience of a life going well. It is a way to describe optimal life functioning, in spite of chronic disease and psychical bodily deterioration. It focuses on adaptation to age-related changes and reduction of abilities, but also the positive gains and strengths associated with old age. To flourish means to proactively and reactively respond and interact with what comes our way, by selecting goals that fit the issues we deal with, and then optimize our engagement in the selected goals, and in this process compensate and maintain a certain quality of life that is possible in the face of loss and decline.

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Why Optimal Aging?

Everyone ages. From the moment we are born, we begin to grow, mature, and change - the process of aging. When we are young, we call this “maturing” or “growing up,” but as we advance in years, this process gradually changes into “aging.” 

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Optimal Aging Blog Begins in 2018 Optimal Aging Month

As part of the 2018 Optimal Aging Month, the UofL Institute for Sustainable Health & Optimal Aging is launching a new Optimal Aging Blog. We look forward to exploring with you important concepts related to optimal aging. Our network of experts and specialists will share their insights on key topics such as health tips, aging brain, pain management, caregiving support, and many other topics. Join our email list to receive the new blog. Sign up for our email list to check out our upcoming posts.

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