May is Older Americans Month and, in honor of the month, Senior Scope worked with Massachusetts Executive Office of Elder Affairs Secretary Elizabeth Chen on a special Q&A about how she and the EOEA office support older adults to continue to live independently as they age.
Q: Can you share with us about Older Americans Month and the work that the Executive Office of Elder Affairs (EOEA) does for older people and caregivers?
A: May marks Older Americans Month when we celebrate the older people in our lives, their caregivers, and the professionals who work with older people every day. At EOEA, we strive to ensure that the 1.7 million older people in Massachusetts have opportunities to live and thrive in the communities of their choice. We do this work through Aging Services Access Points and Area Agencies on Aging, such as Coastline Elder Services, the Councils on Aging in every municipality in Massachusetts, and other organizations dedicated to serving older adults.
Q: How does EOEA support older people who want to age in their communities and homes?
A: As we get older, our abilities may change. EOEA programs support our changing bodies, brains, and emotions so that:
• We have the opportunity to take in appropriate nutrition;
• Our homes are well maintained and safe;
• We learn to cope with feelings common to us all, such as loneliness, anger, or loss; and
• We have some assistance so that we can continue to do as much for ourselves as possible in our own homes.
Q: Is there anything you, as the Secretary of Elder Affairs, would like to communicate to older adults and caregivers this month?
A: Aging is a process and is a part of life. There are highs, there are lows, and everything in between. In Older Americans Month, we celebrate the work, wisdom, and continued contributions of older people. We celebrate caregivers who help older people adjust to changing abilities natural to the aging process. And we celebrate organizations, like Coastline Elder Services, that help to ensure that older people can live and thrive in the communities of their choosing.