Neilson promotes National Senior Independence Month

HARRISBURG, Feb. 10 – The Pennsylvania House of Representatives unanimously adopted a resolution today, sponsored by state Rep. Ed Neilson, D-Phila., which designates the month of February 2016 as "National Senior Independence Month" in Pennsylvania.

"I empathize with older Pennsylvanians who want to do everything possible to stay in the homes that they spent years working for, and my loved ones have expressed similar desires to me and my family," Neilson said. "According to the American Association of Retired Persons, 86 percent of adults over 45 years of age would prefer to stay in their current residence as long as possible, and I can’t blame them. I believe it is appropriate for the state to look at every opportunity to make that desire a reality for as many seniors as possible." 

Neilson said that National Senior Independence Month serves as an opportunity for senior citizens to evaluate their current living situation, recognize the strengths and weaknesses in their daily routine and make adjustments for a better lifestyle.

"While living independently can pose challenging for some older Pennsylvanians, a few simple changes to home or lifestyle could end up making all the difference. Ensuring that a home is well taken care of and that there aren’t any obvious risk to a senior’s health or well-being will go a long way in keeping them in their home," Neilson said.   

Neilson said that older Pennsylvanians who are interested in staying in their home should routinely ensure that their residence is well-lit and that all floors and walkways are clear of debris or other unnecessary items to allow for easier navigation. Neilson also suggested that some seniors may want to consider installing grab bars in their restrooms, especially near the shower, bathtub and toilet.

Neilson is also encouraging seniors and their loved ones to contact his district office to learn about initiatives supported by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Administration on Aging, which is tasked with promoting the well-being of older people by providing services and programs to help them live independently in their homes and communities.