National Nutrition Month: Go Further with Food

March 27, 2018 - Paul Downey

Whether it was via a pyramid or plate diagram, most of us were taught that we should “eat the rainbow” every day in order to get the recommended daily amounts of vitamins, minerals and health benefits from our food. And most of us take for granted that we have easy access to fresh produce and balanced meals. We have options. We don’t think twice about the food choices at our fingertips.

Now imagine if you were living on just a few dollars a day. Would fresh produce or balanced meals be at the top of your list of concerns? Probably not. You’d likely be more worried about paying rent, affording medications, maybe getting to and from work or appointments. That’s the reality that many of our senior clients are living. Many of them can’t afford fresh foods or balanced meals. Our senior clients’ income, mostly in the form of Social Security, averages $950/month.

Access and Affordability

According to the Elder Index, developed by UCLA’s Center for Health Policy Research, a single senior in San Diego needs an income of $1,974/month to afford basic rent, food, health costs and transportation. By this calculation, 41% of San Diego seniors live below the Elder Index. With a population of 202,413 adults aged 62 above, San Diego is home to nearly 83,000 seniors who have to choose between paying rent and purchasing food every day.

With limited access to nutritious food, most seniors initially arrive at Serving Seniors suffering from malnourishment or chronic health conditions related to poor nutrition, including high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes. Health concerns, especially prolonged issues, reduce seniors’ quality of life and drive already-poor seniors even deeper into poverty, increasing their reliance on community-funded programs, as most are single or widowed with little or no familial support.

Helping Seniors Stay Healthy, One Meal at a Time

Fortunately, many of the chronic diseases older adults face are preventable through healthy eating. Since its founding in 1970, Serving Seniors has served more than 11 million nutritious meals, developed in partnership with a registered nutritionist and optimized for the nutritional needs of older adults, and has seen first-hand the beneficial effects of reliable access to healthy food. Between nine congregate dining sites and delivering daily meals to 500 homebound seniors, we serve nearly 2,000 meals daily, every day of the year.

The meals we serve accommodate a variety of dietary needs, including low-sodium and low-fat diets, and are often the only source of food for San Diego seniors who would otherwise go hungry. And the benefits of a healthy diet are profound: increased mental acuteness, resistance to illness and disease, faster recuperation after illness and medical procedures, higher energy levels and more.

So Much More Than Meals

Serving Seniors’ nutrition program provides much more than food and senior-specific nutrition education – it brings seniors, most of whom live alone, together for camaraderie. This socialization is invaluable to our clients. In almost every case, our seniors tell us that they keep coming to our Gary and Mary West Senior Wellness Center for the companionship as much as the meals, and that the combination of friendship and healthy food has helped them remain healthy, active and independent. They join walking and hobby groups, take fitness classes, attend cooking demonstrations, play games, learn how to use computers and much more.

You (and Your Taxes) Benefit From Healthy Senior Neighbors, Too

Healthy people use fewer expensive public resources, such as ambulance transport and emergency room care. According to American Medical Response San Diego, the cost of an ambulance transport is about $1,800; Medicare pays only about $434 and Medi-Cal pays only $118. For roughly the same cost as an ambulance ride, Serving Seniors can feed a senior for an entire year. When nutritious food has been proven to be as important as medicine, especially for older adults, it makes financial sense to help our elder neighbors stay healthy in the first place. After all, as a supremely wise man once said, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

 
In honor of National Nutrition Month, please consider supporting Serving Seniors’ nutrition program.

Celebrating the Past, Shaping the Future

March 5, 2018 - Paul Downey

You and a guest are cordially invited to

Tuesday, March 20, 2018 • 5:30 – 7:00 p.m.
Reception at 5:30 p.m. • Program at 6:15 p.m.

Serving Seniors’ Gary & Mary West Senior Wellness Center
1525 Fourth Avenue • San Diego, CA 92101

Please join us for a special evening! Serving Seniors’ President & CEO, Paul Downey, will give an update on the organization’s accomplishments over the past year, a panel of experts will discuss the future of aging well and what that means for you, plus we’ll hear directly from one of our senior clients on how our services changed their life.

There is no cost to attend but seating is limited and reservations are required.
Please RSVP by Friday, March 16 to 619.487.0701 or kaia.hill@servingseniors.org

Age is Not a Barrier to Learning

February 23, 2018 - Paul Downey

This guest post is courtesy of Karen Weeks, elderwellness.net.

They say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks; well, it’s a good thing you don’t walk on all fours! And despite the preconceived notion that older adults can’t learn new skills, science says otherwise. So, if you’re over 65 and want to play the guitar, do the tango, or delve into the inner workings of technology, the only thing stopping you is… you.

From the Comfort of Home

When you want to learn something new, look no further than your PC, phone, or tablet. We’ve yet to find a skill that isn’t taught online. This means you can get down with modern dance from the privacy of your closed-curtain living room if that’s what you want. Or grab a group of your favorite folks and practice the downward dog right from your TV. Xfinity and many other major cable providers offer free or paid access to fitness classes On Demand.

Here are a few suggestions of the many different things you can learn from home:

Automobile History

Even if you’re already an enthusiast, this fascinating lecture collection from Stanford will give you a better understanding of how automobiles have shaped and been shaped by the last century.

Finance

Brought to you by Yale University, this YouTube course, which was first recorded in 2008 but continues to be a popular topic for students, will help you attain a deeper understanding of financial institutions and their role in civilized society.

Science and Food

You’ve probably never thought of your time in the kitchen as a science experiment but it is. This Harvard University video playlist will teach you what you need to know about the science behind everything from cheese to risotto to which culinary thickening agents are best for different cooking conditions.

Language

The Open Learning Initiative, sponsored by Carnegie Mellon University, offers open courses in languages including Arabic, French, Chinese, and Spanish. At time of publication, Elementary French I offers a free sample class with the option to upgrade for $10 to a self-guided independent learner full course.

Music

Equipboard, an online community centered on the tools and gear used by professional artists and industry influencers, notes that music education doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg. The best online guitar lessons, according to the site, range from free to just over $30 per month.

Computer Programming

If you want to know what all the fuss is about where technology is concerned, consider taking an entry-level web or app coding class. LinkedIn is a great resource for developer courses and offers a free month trial and unlimited access to more than 6,000 courses for $25 per month.

First Aid

Having the crucial skills to offer assistance in case of an emergency is important for people of all ages. The American Red Cross offers online first-aid classes that will help you help your friends and family until first responders arrived.

Knitting

Maybe you’re already a knitter and want to learn how to dye your own yarn, or maybe you’ve never picked up a needle before. Either way, Craftsy.com has you covered with classes ranging from $10-$60. In the course of a day, you can learn to knit your own socks or create stunning designs to flatter any figure.

It doesn’t matter what you want to learn — there is a class for you just waiting on the World Wide Web. You don’t have to have extensive technical knowledge or a huge budget, but you do need a willingness to learn, the desire to better yourself, and occasionally, the patience to put up with a slow internet connection.

About Karen:

We’re never too old to learn a new skill. And I’m living proof of that! After I retired, I decided to learn how to design websites and created elderwellness.net. It’s certainly a work in progress, but it reminded me how fun and gratifying it can be to learn a new skill. Now, I’m hoping to spread the word. Winter, when it’s more difficult for many of us older folks to get out and about, is a great time to start learning a new skill, whether it’s online or with a group of friends.

Experience of a Lifetime Gala Sponsorship

February 9, 2018 - Paul Downey

Our annual gala, Experience of a Lifetime, is quickly approaching! Experience of a Lifetime is a very special evening that includes a cocktail reception, gourmet dinner, wine grab, live auction, entertainment and more. Guests enjoy a night of fun and festivities while helping support the programs and services of Serving Seniors.

We’re looking for gala sponsors! Do you know anyone who might be interested? We’d love to meet them!

Why consider a sponsorship? Show your friends and colleagues a memorable evening, share your brand with hundreds of well-connected, affluent San Diegans and support a meaningful mission.

For more information about sponsorships, please contact Luke Dumas, Associate Director of Development, Corporate and Foundation Relations at luke.dumas@servingseniors.org.

What Your Ticket Purchase or Sponsorship Supports

Proceeds from Experience of a Lifetime support lifesaving programs and services that low-income seniors in San Diego rely on. Serving Seniors proudly provides our programs and services to our clients free of charge. By attending or supporting this memorable gala, you’ll be providing meals, healthcare, supportive services, senior-friendly housing and much more for nearly 5,000 seniors right here in San Diego.


Special Thanks to Our Sponsors

Invitation to Our Experience of a Lifetime Gala

February 2, 2018 - Paul Downey

Our annual gala, Experience of a Lifetime, is quickly approaching! Experience of a Lifetime is a very special evening that includes a cocktail reception, gourmet dinner, wine grab, live auction, entertainment and more. Guests enjoy a night of fun and festivities while helping support the programs and services of Serving Seniors.

We hope you can join us for this special evening on Thursday, May 3 at the elegant Del Mar Country Club.

Proceeds from Experience of a Lifetime support lifesaving programs and services that low-income seniors in San Diego rely on. Serving Seniors proudly provides our programs and services to our clients free of charge. By attending or supporting this memorable gala, you’ll be providing meals, healthcare, supportive services, senior-friendly housing and much more for nearly 5,000 seniors right here in San Diego.


Special Thanks to Our Sponsors


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