Find a key, open a door

Take a look at the Face Aging Principles which “provide guidance to anyone who wants to help Minnesota face aging.” They can provide a key to successful aging. It makes sense to place guiding principles related to aging in front of our community at this time in Minnesota history – right now, our state’s aging population is growing more rapidly than it ever has before.

The premise “all Minnesota seniors deserve high quality care, housing and support services as they grow older,” is a good place to start. (See Principle 1.) If Maslow was creating a hierarchy of needs for seniors, perhaps he would add this principle to one of the basic needs for aging adults.

We know that staying connected keeps us healthy. Expand the concept of connections to include partnerships. Check out Principle 2 – “We are all in this together.” Expand your thoughts about connections. Look at ways that you can help form partnerships “between our seniors, their families, their communities, professional care caregivers, and the State of Minnesota.”

Aging in place is a trend to help “all prosper” by helping seniors stay in their communities with the right care and services (Principle 3). A health care team can provide recommendations for accommodations “to encourage the best choices for seniors who seek to age in place for as long as possible.”

How many of you are caregivers? I have been a professional nutrition caregiver for over 30 years. It is fun and satisfying to see people improve their lives when they focus on good nutrition.

Over the years I have enjoyed working with many different teams of dedicated caregivers who valued their work. Some of these caregivers were underpaid. Did you know that “we all benefit when senior caregivers have just compensation?” (See Principle 4.) We need adequate compensation for those employed as caregivers. It honors their work and ensures Minnesota’s seniors will have the professional caregivers they need when they need them. Caregivers also need “opportunities for continuing education and career advancement” to succeed in the jobs they love. Those who have devoted their careers to caring for seniors deserve our support.

Finally, it is time to “boldy go” where innovation meets efficiency “to deliver quality care and manage costs” in “helping seniors age at home for as long as possible.” (See Principle 5.) I recently attended a preview of a TED talk by local author Tony Loyd. He gave examples of four young leaders who are making businesses out of providing a product that focuses on the greater good. Perhaps there is room for a bit of social entrepreneurship on the topic of aging at home. Wouldn’t we all benefit?

In the meantime, why not be a pal to the Face Aging Principles? It could provide a key to opening a door to healthy aging for all of us. Learn more here.

Marilyn (Mayr) Boros, RDN, LD is a local author and lives in St. Paul, Minnesota.

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