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Changes in physical conditions and general mobility can put seniors at an increased risk for falls as they age, which is why low-impact forms of exercise that improve strength and balance are so important for fall prevention in seniors. However, each tripping hazard at home adds further and unnecessary dangers, so removing these is equally essential for preventing falls and injury. Here are some ways to avoid the most common trip hazards for seniors—before a dangerous fall happens.

Use High-Quality Footwear

Sometimes our own footwear trips us up. Avoid wearing shoes with slippery soles, floppy construction, or high heels to reduce your risk of falling. Ensure that your shoes fit properly, offer adequate support where you need it, and have soles with good treads.

Address Pet-Related Fall Risks

Small pets are especially easy to trip on because they’re harder to see from a standing height. However, pets of any size can indirectly pose a serious trip hazard if their bowls, toys, beds, and other supplies become walkway obstacles. Consider attaching a bell to your pets’ collars to increase your awareness of their presence. Move stray toys and chews out of main pathways as soon as you spot them.

Secure Rugs and Flooring

It’s jarring for anyone to suddenly find themselves “surfing” a hardwood floor on a slippery throw rug, but there can be serious outcomes for seniors in this situation. Flooring fabrics are a major culprit of senior falls, so make sure that your rugs have non-skid backing or mats and lie flat. Ensure that loose floorboards and carpet corners are secured down to avoid catching your foot on them, and cut any loose threading in rugs.

Clear High-Traffic Areas

If you can’t get rid of clutter entirely, at least remove it from the main pathways in your home. Move boxes, books, newspapers, magazine racks, plant stands, and other items out of walkways, particularly sharp-cornered small tables. Be sure that electrical cords don’t stretch across these thoroughfares, either.

Use Strategic Lighting

Despite our best efforts, it’s hard not to trip on something you can’t see, particularly during nighttime trips to the bathroom or kitchen. Use the following strategies to create well-lit walkways:

  • Use nightlights in your bathroom, bedroom, and hallways
  • Keep a lamp within easy reach of your bed in case you need to get up at night
  • Particularly in rooms where the light switch isn’t located near the entrance, consider installing glow-in-the-dark light switches, or at least keep the path to the light switch clear
  • Turn on the lights before going up or down the stairs
  • Keep flashlights handy so you can light your way in all areas of your home

Prevent Fall Risks With Spectrum Community Services

Spectrum Community Services is committed to improving the quality of life for low-income families, seniors, and individuals in Alameda County. Through financial assistance and other services, our goal is to support community members in building healthy, safe, and independent lives.

Visit our website for more information on our Fall Prevention Program, which offers fitness classes for senior citizens. Contact us today to relieve mobility issues, build strength, and help prevent injuries!

If you’ve ever dreaded working in a corporate cubicle, giving up your dreams of making a difference in your community, or even if you just haven’t found much job satisfaction at your for-profit company, you may want to explore some careers in nonprofits. Here’s why nonprofit careers are so rewarding for so many workers.

1.    Diverse and Meaningful Careers

There’s an astonishing array of nonprofits in the US and abroad, and they work to solve problems at every scale. One organization might work to end world hunger, while another might be tackling food insecurity and isolation among the senior population at the local level with programs designed to support healthy aging.

If you want the satisfaction of working for a worthwhile mission, make a short list of causes you’re most passionate about, and you’ll find countless organizations dedicated to them. There are many moving parts to each nonprofit, so no matter your skill set or personality type, there’s probably a role that will be a good fit for you.

2.    Competitive Benefits

Many nonprofits offer an impressive array of tangible and intangible benefits, including:

  • Robust healthcare packages
  • Generous 401(k) plans and matching programs
  • Employer paid long term disability and life insurance
  • Opportunities for professional development training
  • Flexible working hours, including options to work from home where feasible
  • Small but practical perks like discounts on products and services of participating partners

3. Flexible Roles

You’ll never feel stuck in one role at a nonprofit. Because most of these workers wear multiple hats to keep the organization lean and efficient, you’ll have the chance to explore a variety of tasks and projects. This is a great way to learn new skills, discover new talents and interests, and work with new people. You can start working in almost any entry-level position and move not just up the ranks, but across them as you find the kinds of job titles and responsibilities that suit you best.

Some nonprofits offer flexible schedules as well. Part-time roles can be great for college students, retirees, or anyone with other pre-existing commitments. They’re a great way to follow your passions while finding balance with other aspects of your life.

4. Great Coworkers

People who work for nonprofits are driven by passion and personal interests, not just a paycheck, and they often lead unconventionally rich lives. This means you’re unlikely to have boring or uncaring coworkers, and you may even be inspired by them. As a result, you may develop healthier and more meaningful work relationships. When you’re working together toward a common impactful goal, teamwork and mutual support also come much more naturally.

Spectrum Community Services Is Hiring!

Spectrum Community Services is committed to improving the quality of life for low-income families, seniors, and individuals in Alameda County. Through financial assistance and other services, our goal is to support community members in building healthy, safe, and independent lives.

We are hiring! Spectrum is always looking for friendly, dependable people to join our team focused on serving seniors and low income families. Check out our wide variety of job openings—including a mix of full- and part-time options—and apply today. We can't wait to work with you!

 

Did you know that there are over 100 types of arthritis? The most common two types are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, and both cause the protective cartilage between bones in the joints to break down. This typically causes symptoms like pain, swelling, redness, stiffness, and a limited range of motion. Although arthritis can worsen as we age, it can develop at any age, and it can be quite debilitating.

Joint problems drive millions of Americans to reach for over-the-counter pain medications like acetaminophen, ibuprofen, and naproxen sodium, or for topical creams involving capsaicin. Although these can help in the short term, there’s also an excellent form of natural pain relief for arthritis that offers longer-term pain relief and other major benefits: walking. Here’s what you need to know about the benefits of walking for arthritis relief.

How Walking Helps To Relieve Arthritis Pain

When your body feels stiff and painful, it’s tempting to avoid movement—but in fact, this will ultimately weaken the body and worsen arthritis. Walking regularly is a highly effective method for relieving arthritis pain and reaching other health goals because it offers:

  • Low-impact exercise. Doing high-impact repetitive exercises like running, jumping, and high-intensity cardio training can make arthritis worse because they cause the joints to slam together. Walking builds strength, lung capacity, and endurance, all while remaining gentle on the joints.
  • Improved circulation. Walking raises your heart rate, which in turn boosts blood circulation. It also increases your oxygen intake as you breathe more heavily. This helps your blood to deliver more oxygen and other key nutrients to your existing joint cartilage.
  • Stronger muscles. Strengthening the muscles around your joints provides them with greater support. Strong muscles also help to hold joints in the correct position, reducing the risk of herniated spinal discs, strains, and sprains.
  • Reduced weight. You might be surprised at how much excess weight you can lose just by walking regularly. Besides generally looking and feeling better, achieving an ideal weight also decreases the load-bearing strain on your joints.
  • Fall prevention. Over time, walking not only helps you stay in shape and reduce your arthritis symptoms, but can also help seniors to avoid falls and injuries. This is thanks in part to your strengthened muscles, but also the greater overall flexibility, more accurate foot placement, and improved sense of balance you’ll achieve by walking regularly. Consider taking a walking class to get all of these benefits and meet new people at the same time!

Walk With Ease With Spectrum Community Services

Spectrum Community Services is committed to improving the quality of life for low-income families, seniors, and individuals in Alameda County. Through financial assistance and other services, our goal is to support community members in building healthy, safe, and independent lives.

Visit our website for more information on our Fall Prevention Program, which offers fitness classes for senior citizens, including our Walk With Ease class. Contact us today to relieve arthritis, build strength, and help prevent injuries!

Getting good nutrition can be a challenge for Americans of all ages, particularly for low-income individuals and families who cope with food insecurity. There are numerous organizations that work to address this, and they often solicit and receive donations during the holiday season. However, nutrition support for vulnerable populations is a year-round need that doesn’t end on January 1st, and seniors are among the most fragile demographics of all.

Here’s why it’s so essential that family members as well as national and community organizations work to support seniors’ nutritional needs throughout the year.

Why Seniors Need Targeted Nutrition Support

Consuming adequate essential nutrients can be especially challenging for seniors, who are more likely to have a complicated relationship with food for the following reasons:

  • The human ability to smell, taste, and work up an appetite decreases with age, making it harder to enjoy food and maintain regular eating patterns
  • Seniors can also experience a lack of appetite due to illness (since immune systems weaken with age) and the side effects of some medications
  • Some medical conditions come with dietary restrictions, and it can be difficult for seniors to work around these
  • Seniors who live alone or with a partner may experience isolation, which can cause them not to bother preparing well-balanced meals

Yet failing to eat well can be disastrous for the health of elderly populations. Some of the disorders that malnutrition can cause include:

  • A (further) weakened immune system and, consequently, an increased risk of infections
  • Wounds that heal poorly or take longer than normal to heal
  • Muscle weakness
  • Decreased bone mass, which makes bones more likely to fracture

What Seniors and Their Families Need To Know About Nutrition

Fortunately, it’s never too late to improve senior health with good nutrition. Here are some eating tips to help seniors live healthier, longer, and more comfortably:

  • Follow recommended senior nutrition guidelines
  • Get adequate protein in your diet. Consider healthy alternatives to land animal meat, such as seafood, dairy, fortified soy products, and legumes (like beans and peas)
  • Be mindful about getting adequate levels of vitamin B12 through dietary supplements or breakfast cereals
  • Drink plenty of water, even if you aren’t thirsty; our sense of thirst declines as we age, putting seniors at a higher risk of dehydration
  • Drink alcohol only in moderation
  • Be sure your snacks and meals contain plenty of fruits and vegetables

Get Nutrition Support With Spectrum Community Services

Spectrum Community Services is committed to improving the quality of life for low-income families, seniors, and individuals in Alameda County. Through financial assistance, outreach programs, and services, our goal is to support community members in building healthy, safe, and independent lives.

Visit our website for more information on our senior nutrition programs for both homebound and active seniors. Each meal we provide is low in sodium and contains at least 1/3 of seniors Dietary Reference Intake (DRI) including fruits and vegetables high in vitamins C and A. In addition, our Reusable Container Program in operation at most sites diverts thousands of single-use food containers from Alameda County’s waste stream each month. Contact us today!

If you’ve ever wanted to make a difference in your community, change up your routine, or explore a new career path, volunteering is an excellent way to do all three. Lending a hand to nonprofit organizations doesn’t just benefit them; volunteering benefits those who donate their time, too. Here are just a few of the perks you’ll enjoy when you volunteer on a regular or one-time basis.

What Are the Benefits of Volunteering?

Mental Health Benefits

Volunteering offers a number of mental health benefits:

  • Meaning, purpose, and control. Both in good times and in troubled ones, volunteering empowers people to tackle problems in their lives and in the world. It can also simply help you explore a new interest or feel more connected to your community in general.
  • Positive feelings and outlook. Doing good causes your body to release dopamine, a feel-good hormone. This promotes better moods and an improved perspective on your life. Donating your time can even help to combat anxiety and depression.

Physical Health Benefits

All volunteer roles can offer surprising physical health benefits:

  • Reduced stress. Even if you don’t break a sweat in your duties, the stress-lowering effects of doing good can improve your sleep quality, weight maintenance, digestion, and immune system function. It can also reduce your risk of heart disease, stroke, hypertension, and Type 2 diabetes.
  • Improved physique. If you choose a role that is even somewhat physically demanding, your body will thank you. Getting moving can help you lose fat, gain lean muscle, build strength and endurance, boost your cardiovascular health, and even improve your balance and reflexes.

Social and Professional Benefits

Volunteering also comes with the potential for making worthwhile connections:

  • New people. Volunteering is a great way to meet new people, spark interesting conversations, learn how to work with different personality types, and even make new friends. It’s a great way to mix up your socializing patterns and get out of “ruts” in life.
  • Expanded professional network. If you approach your volunteering roles with the same dedication you might for professional ones, you’ll quickly impress your volunteer coordinator and other organization staff. This is ideal in general, and the connections and references they can provide may open career doors for you as well.
  • Marketable skills. Even if you’re not volunteering to get ahead in your career (which shouldn’t be your primary motivation anyway), you’re likely to develop skills that can make your résumé shine. This might include in-demand field knowledge, technical abilities, or “soft skills,” like good teamwork and communication habits.

Volunteer With Spectrum Community Services

Spectrum Community Services is committed to improving the quality of life for low-income families, seniors, and individuals in Alameda County. Through financial assistance and other services, our goal is to support community members in building healthy, safe, and independent lives. Contact us to learn more about our services, or consider making a donation to support our work.

We are always looking for new volunteers to join the Spectrum team! Check out our volunteer openings. We can't wait to work with you!