By Ann Guerra
I recently had the pleasure of helping two local women celebrate their 90th birthdays. If one attended the party and didn’t know these women, it would have been impossible to pick out who the 90 year olds were. Both loved dancing in their earlier years and both are participating in activities where they make a difference and stay connected to people with similar interests. These women age out loud!
This year, the federal Administration on Aging is highlighting the theme “Age Out Loud” in celebration of Older Americans Month. In Nevada County, where a good percentage of the population is over 60, we are loud by our very presence. The Older Americans Act defines a senior as someone who is 60 years or older. In Nevada County, 33% of us fall into this group. More surprising is the fact that the fastest growing segment of the senior population are people 80 and up. But what is the Administration on Aging, what impact does it have in Nevada County, and what does it mean to “age out loud”?
The Administration on Aging carries out the mandates of the Older Americans Act. Originally enacted in 1965, the Older Americans Act (OAA) supports a range of home and community-based services for seniors, such as meals-on-wheels and other nutrition programs, in-home services, transportation, legal services, elder abuse prevention, and caregiver support.
211’s Senior Assistance Line is a local program funded by the Older Americans Act. The Senior Assistance Line is designed to connect seniors to needed services and also to provide options when one is considering or facing a lifestyle change, whether due to choice, disability, or financial status.
In California, Agencies on Aging are the vehicle for delivering Older Americans Act services. Agency on Aging Area 4 (AAA4) serves Nevada County and six other Northern California counties. AAA4 is governed by a board made up of county supervisors and other appointees from each county. Nevada County seniors are represented on the governing board by Supervisor Heidi Hall and Andy Burton.
Seniors can contribute their input through our representatives on the board or, every few years, through town hall meetings and surveys conducted by AAA4. FREED’s minor home repair program and Gold Country LIFT’s Sunday transportation service are two great examples of programs being funded to meet local priorities and needs. The North Tahoe/Truckee Transit program is also funded as a result of local input.
But all of these programs are simply here to support us as we move forward in life. As my 90 year old friends demonstrate every day, aging out loud is what you decide it will be.
Ann Guerra is the Executive Director of Connecting Point, the home of 211 Nevada County.