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Published on April 28, 2014

Older Americans Month: “Safe Today, Healthy Tomorrow” 

In 1963, President John F. Kennedy selected the month of May as “Senior Citizens Month” to honor their contributions to our communities and to our nation. Although the name was later changed to “Older Americans Month,” the purpose remains the same — to celebrate the positive impact of older adults on our society and their great contributions throughout our history.

In 1963, 17 million Americans were over the age of 65. Today, there are over 40.3 million people age 65 and older. There are now more Americans age 65 and older than at any other time in United States history. This astounding number will rapidly increase in the next decade or so. Major strides have been made in public health strategies to support older adults in remaining healthy, active members of their communities.

This year, the national theme for Older Americans Month is “Safe Today, Healthy Tomorrow” to raise awareness of the importance of learning how to stay healthy and prevent chronic diseases as we grow older.

“Get out and exercise.”

“Some of the biggest safety issues facing seniors today are serious or minor falls, harmful environments, and poor medication management. The advice I would give to seniors to stay healthy is to get out and exercise. Whether it’s visiting friends and family, staying active is key for living a healthier lifestyle and to prevent future chronic diseases,” says William Zirker, M.D. M.P.H., chief of the Division of Geriatrics at Crozer-Chester Medical Center and medical director of Crozer Keystone Health System (CKHS) Senior Health Services. Zirker, who is a past president of the Eastern Pennsylvania Geriatrics Society., specializes in Geriatric Medicine and Internal Medicine at Crozer-Keystone.

“It’s very important to take the proper steps for maintaining a healthy lifestyle,” Zirker says. “In order to maintain good health, he says, the most important thing to do is to exercise and eat a healthy diet — for example, walk at least three hours a week, do some light-weight training, eat a good breakfast, and remain active. Doing these things, he says, can help prevent future chronic diseases and improve mental functioning and physical appearance.”

Crozer-Keystone has acknowledged the unique needs of older adults in Delaware County, and has lived up to its goal of offering reliable aging-specific services. Over the last 12 years, CKHS has consciously developed services and implemented programs to better meet the needs of older patients and their families.

These programs include:

•  The Crozer-Keystone Center for Geriatric Medicine, the Geriatric Evaluation and Management (GEM) Program, and the Comprehensive and Memory Clinic Program — all staffed by board-certified and fellowship-trained geriatricians.

•  Senior Behavioral Health Services, with board-certified geriatric psychiatrists

•  The Gait and Balance Center at Springfield Hospital.

•  The Acute Care of Elders impatient unit at Crozer-Chester Medical Center

•  The Senior Health Services Department with a dedicated toll-free Senior Support Line: 1-800 CKHS-KEY (1-800-254-7539).

•  “The Crozer-Keystone Village (CK Village), which provides access to a community of health and wellness services, including trusted Crozer-Keystone affiliated service providers ready to make life easier for active adults age 50 and over.

Concierge-style” services through CK Village, a strong collaboration with area long-term care facilities.

•  Medicare-funded care transitional care initiatives.

•  The Geriatric Resource Center at Springfield Hospital

"The comprehensive services we offer speaks to our commitment to provide quality care for older adults whether it's in our acute care hospitals, physician offices or other post-acute care services. We remain tireless in our mission to improve the overall health of older adults in Delaware County and our surrounding communities,” says Barbara Alexis Looby, administrative director of Senior Health Services for Crozer-Keystone Health System.

Here at Crozer-Keystone we continue to urge our older adult community to be “safe today, healthy tomorrow.” We salute all of our older patients and their families, we acknowledge their contributions to our community, and we honor them by affording them the opportunity to access quality, patient-centered senior-sensitive care at Crozer-Keystone Health System.

For more information about senior services at Crozer-Keystone Health System, please call 1-800-CKHS-KEY (1-800-254-7539) or visit http://www.crozerkeystone.org/services/seniors/.

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