HEALTHY AGING

Today, one in every 5 workers is over 65, and by 2020 twenty percent of workers will be over 55. As the American workforce ages, employers are more aware than ever of the need to keep their workforce healthy over the long haul. The best strategy to minimize the impact of chronic disease and other health issues is to create a comprehensive culture of health in the workplace that spans a person's entire working lifetime. The habit of healthy behaviors must be encouraged early on before chronic conditions set in, while at the same time addressing the needs of older workers.

In addition to the aging workforce, employers also need to be aware of the unique stresses faced by employees who may be the primary caregiver for an older adult suffering from Alzheimer’s, other forms of dementia or who otherwise are unable to care for themselves. The emotional, physical and financial toll can impact a caregiver's work performance. It's important for employers to have resources readily available for caregivers in order to fend off burnout and provide them with the support they need to maintain a healthy work/life balance.

What is Alzheimer's/dementia?

Early Detection

Early detection of Alzheimer's improves access to medical and support services, provides and opportunity to make legal, financial and care plans, and may reduce health care costs by delaying placement in a nursing home. To learn more about early detection and diagnosing Alzheimer's disease, visit:

Training

Mental Health and Aging

Aging and Depression

Depression is very common among people with Alzheimer's, but there is treatment available that can make a different in quality of life. 

According to the CDC, here are some signs to look for related to depression:

  • Feelings of hopelessness and/or pessimism
  • Feelings of guilt, worthlessness and/or helplessness
  • Irritability, restlessness
  • Loss of interest in activities or hobbies once pleasurable
  • Fatigue and decreased energy
  • Difficulty concentrating, remembering details and making decisions
  • Insomnia, early-morning wakefulness, or excessive sleeping
  • Overeating or appetite loss
  • Thoughts of suicide, suicide attempts
  • Persistent aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems that do not get better, even with treatment

    For more information and resources on aging and depression, visit:

How is Depression Different for Older Adults?

According to the CDC, depression is often different for older adults. Below is some helpful information regarding the depression and older adults. For more information, click here. 

Older adults are at increased risk. We know that about 80% of older adults have at least one chronic health condition, and 50% have two or more. Depression is more common in people who also have other illnesses (such as heart disease or cancer) or whose function becomes limited.

Older adults are often misdiagnosed and under-treated.

Healthcare providers may mistake an older adult's symptoms of depression as just a natural reaction to illness or the life changes that may occur as we age, and therefore not see the depression as something to be treated. Older adults themselves often share this belief and do not seek help because they don't understand that they could feel better with appropriate treatment.

Workplace Considerations

Worksite Wellness

What is Worksite Wellness?

A worksite wellness program is an employee centered approach to improve health outcomes, health behaviors, productivity and morale in the workplace. Wellness programs include a coordinated and comprehensive set of strategies, which promote and support health, safety, physical activity and overall well-being for all employees. Strategies may include company policies, preventive screenings, access to healthy foods, fitness programs, tobacco-cessation, educational seminars and links to community resources.   

Additional Resources:

Worksite Wellness Activities of Older Adults

America’s workers are living longer than ever before and many are staying in the workforce past age sixty. The economy puts great pressure on workers’ families and their retirement plans, often forcing older workers to postpone retirement and stay in the workforce longer. When planning an employee wellness program, it is important to keep in mind activities that will support your aging population in the workplace. However, healthy aging education in the workplace is not only for those approaching retirement, but for everyone. Below are examples that can easily be integrated into an employee wellness program.  

  • Organize workshops/seminars on topics such as retirement and advance care planning.
  • Focus on topics related to mental health such as techniques to reduce stress.
  • Provide resources through newsletters or email blast on safety topics such as avoiding occupational back pain.
  • Send out messages/flyers on healthy lifestyle tips for older adults.   
  • Increase the availability of alternative opportunities for safe, regular physical activity for older adults.  
  • Caring for Caregivers

    Who are Caregivers?

    According to the CDC, caregivers provide care to people who need some degree of ongoing assistance with everyday tasks on a regular or daily basis. 

    According to the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, nearly one in four American families provide some form of caregiving, making it more important than ever to ensure caregivers are supported at work and at home. Providing a support and educational program at work for caregivers can be a great solution. Programs should be accessible to all employees, respect privacy, and be provided by qualified and trained professionals. There are four important areas to include in any caregiver program: facts, flexibility, finance, and friendship. 

    For more information regarding caregiver programs and important areas to include, click here

    Being a healthy caregiver is essential to providing care. Encourage employees who are caregivers to take time to take care of themselves. 

    Tips for Being a Healthy Caregiver

    CDC Caregiver Activities

    Caregiver Stress Brochure 

    Caregiver Stress Checklist  

    Additional Resources for Employers

    Looking for additional resources for healthy aging and caregivers? Visit these sites to familiarize yourself with the resources available to you. 

    The Healthy Brain Initiative 
    Louisiana Governor's Office of Elderly Affairs
    SHIP: Long-term Care Insurance Guide for LA 
    Alzheimer's Association 24/7 Helpline

    For Family and Caregivers

    Who are Caregivers?

    According to the CDC, caregivers provide care to people who need some degree of ongoing assistance with everyday tasks on a regular or daily basis. The recipients of care can live either in residential or institutional settings, range from children to older adults, and have chronic illnesses or disabling conditions.

    To learn more about caregivers resources, click here.

    What is the Impact of Providing Care for an Older Adult?

    According to the CDC, informal or unpaid caregiving has been associated with:

    • Elevated levels of depression and anxiety
    • Higher use of psychoactive medications
    • Worse self-reported physical health
    • Compromised immune function
    • Increased risk of early death

    Over half (53%) of caregivers indicate that a decline in their health compromises their ability to provide care.

    Furthermore, caregivers and their families often experience economic hardships through lost wages and additional medical expenses. In 2009, more than one in four (27%) of caregivers of adults reported a moderate to high degree of financial hardship as a result of caregiving.

    To learn more about caregivers and serious illness, click here or review the Alzheimer's Disease Caregivers fact sheet

    Additional training's for caregivers: 

    What are the Positive Aspects of Caregiving?

    The CDC notes several positive aspects of caregiving. For many people, providing care for a family member with a chronic illness or a disabling condition can provide:

    • A sense of fulfillment
    • Establishment of extended social networks or friendship groups associated with caregiving
    • Feeling needed and useful
    • Learning something about one’s self, others, and the meaning of life

    To learn more about the positive aspects of caregiving, click here.

    Legal and Financial Planning

    Stress Reduction for Caregivers

    10 Symptoms of Caregiver Stress

    Tips to Manage Stress:

    To learn more about being a healthy caregiver, click here.