Pearls of Wisdom from the Aging Summit
Written by Jacqueline Heil - July 23, 2018
Having recently attended the 2018 Aging Summit in San Diego, I thought I would share some of the takeaways and impressions that were made that day. The theme of the summit was San Diego Aging Well (with the focus on wellness). The Age Well San Diego Action Plan was approved by the San Diego County Board of Supervisors on May 15th, 2018. The plan includes goals in the areas of Dementia-friendly, Health & Community Support, Housing, Social Participation, and Transportation. Aging Well is about quality of life of our growing aging community, the one that you and I will both one day be a part of. San Diego is certainly taking a proactive approach to Aging Well movement and by creating a Dementia-friendly city with support and services to improve the quality of life of those diagnosed. We as a city and as individuals have the opportunity to DESIGN OUR FUTURE.
I was excited and energized by the enthusiasm, the work being done at the Department of Health and Human Services, and the many support organizations throughout the county. San Diego is actively creating a roadmap for other communities to follow and we plan to be on the leading edge.
Some highlights and interesting statistics that were shared during many of the presentations I attended:
In 2014, 85,000 people in San Diego were living with Alzheimer's Disease. That is what is known from census information. There are many undiagnosed cases as well. The number is expected to increase dramatically.
The risk for Alzheimer's can be reduced by 1/3 by eating well, exercising, not smoking, having a supportive social community and by not being alone.
21,000 grandparents are raising their grandchildren in San Diego County
The YMCA provides one-on-one case management for grandparents raising grandkids. Click here for more info.
The caregiver community is growing as well with respite care support services on the rise. A recent article in the Wall Street Journal states that America is running out of family caregivers.
We need to build a Caregivers' Community to support individuals caring for others. There is an upcoming Caregivers Resources event at Solana Beach Presbyterian Church on Wednesday July 25 from 9am-1pm. Contact (858) 509-2587.
There is a web-based resource called choosewellsandiego.org which provides a rating system for Assisted Living facilities here in San Diego County. There are currently 600 facilities that have been rated and an additional 110 that have chosen to get rated as of this writing.
There is a 211 call center that connects people with community resources here in San Diego.
San Diego District Attorney's office is currently the only D.A. with a division for Elder Abuse.
Scott Pirrello is the deputy district attorney and spoke of dozens of reports a week of elder abuse; scams which prey on social isolation. The most common scam is an IT Help scam focusing on seniors' computers.
There is an adult protective services hotline established (click here for more info)
San Diego development committees are designing and creating walkable communities for the aging. The concept is a village like communities with supporting services nearby (medical, prescription, groceries, activities).
Joan Lunden was the keynote speaker interviewed by our very own Kimberly Hunt from ABC10news. She discussed her personal journey with her aging mother. She stated the important reasons why it's imperative to be prepared. She provided the following as the minimal steps you should take for your aging parent(s).
Have a conversation with them sooner rather than later about how they see their life as they age...what is important to them.
Ensure that you have the proper documents prepared and at your disposal including:
Durable power of attorney
HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996) release form that provides data privacy and security provisions for safeguarding medical information
A list of where all key documents are including insurance, property titles, safety deposit keys and codes
A list of all doctors
A list of all medications
The key to aging well is focusing on brain health, connection with others, exercise/movement and good diet.
How prepared are you for the Aging Well of your loved ones and yourself? Are there steps you can take to be better prepared?
Overall this was a very informative and constructive summit put on by San Diego. Over 3000 people were in attendance (caregivers, seniors, support services, etc.). I am excited to help get the word out in the community.