About 450,000 people over the age of 65 live in Iowa. It is one of 11 states in the nation in which seniors account for at least 15% of the total population. With such a large relative population, the Iowa Department of Aging is working hard to ensure that seniors live long and healthy lives.
The stated goal of the Department “is to have Iowa be viewed as the premier state to live and to retire!” In order to reach that noble goal, the Department of Aging offers programs and services, including:
-- Behavioral Health: Helping medical professionals identify, treat and manage dementia in seniors.
-- Case Management Program for Frail Elders: Services designed to keep frail seniors in their houses instead of nursing homes.
-- Chef Charles Program: A nutrition education program to explain to seniors the importance of healthy eating.
-- Elder Abuse Prevention and Awareness Programs: Information to seniors about how to avoid being a victim of abuse, neglect and exploitation.
-- Family Caregivers: Programs to assist the selfless family members who are caring for seniors.
-- Housing Programs: Making sure all seniors are living in safe, secure housing.
-- Legal Services: Legal advice and assistance for seniors. Also, explaining their rights to them.
-- Meal Services: Food delivered directly to the homes of seniors as well as meals served in a group setting.
-- Senior Community Services Employment Program: Helping low-income seniors enter the work force.
-- Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program: Providing coupons to low-income seniors to buy fresh fruits and vegetables at farmers markets.
-- Veterans: Various benefits for those who defended our nation.
If there is one thing that medical experts and advocates for seniors can agree upon is that all seniors should consider getting a medical alert system. It is vital for seniors who are living alone because they are never truly alone; someone is always watching over them in the event of a medical emergency.
All medical alert companies operate in all 50 states, including Iowa. At first glance it appears the companies offer the same things, but there are important differences. To learn what those differences are, click on this link.
Iowa has a formal body that serves as a “visible advocate for older Iowans.” It is called the Iowa Commission on Aging. It consists of 11 members, seven of whom are appointed by the governor. At least four of the seven must be at least 55 year old. The idea is to be bi-partisan
-- no more than four can belong to the same political party. Four members of the state legislature fill out the Commission to serve as non-voting members.
The Commission meets at least four times each year to discuss issues related to seniors.
The Department of Aging distributes programs through six Area Agencies on Aging (AAA) offices throughout the state.
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