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Understaffing hard on nursing homes, residents alike

For many, nursing homes seem like the best option for aging family members because facilities offer the promise of 24-hour care.

It is a promise, though, that many Champaign County and central Illinois nursing homes are finding hard to keep because of understaffing, particularly when it comes to registered nurses.

Frank Bernhart, who volunteers at the Stevick Center, at the Champaign Public Library on Wednesday, October 22, 2014.

Volunteering helps keep seniors active and programs strong

By Lauren Cox/For CU-CitizenAccess.org — For Frank Bernhart, volunteering has made all the difference. Bernhart, 69, has worked as a volunteer at Stevick Senior Center, 48 E. Main St. in Champaign, since moving to Champaign nine years ago to be close to his son, who was then a graduate student at the University. Bernhart works as a receptionist at the center, sorting mail, answering the phone and greeting visitors. “It helps me be less depressed,” said Bernhart, whose son has since moved away from Champaign.

Scammers sometimes prey on the elderly by impersonating relatives and asking for money over the phone.

Training the trusting generation: Scams on the elderly and how to prevent them

By Bailey Bryant, Sony Kassam, Shannon Kelly and Johnathan Hettinger/For CU-CitizenAccess.org — With 10,000 Baby Boomers turning 65 each day, the size of the elderly population is getting larger. Unfortunately, so is the number of elderly citizens who fall victim to scams targeting their age group. Scammers often target the elderly because of their trusting nature. According to a survey by the Pew Research Center, as of 2012, Baby Boomers were the most trusting age group in America. This was decided based on their answer to the question, “Generally speaking, would you say that most people can be trusted or that you can’t be too careful in dealing with people?” Forty percent of Baby Boomers expressed beliefs of the former, while the same was only true for 19 percent of Millennials. Scams come in many forms but usually occur via technology like the internet and telephone.

Peppers are a good thing to buy organic, because they do not have peels. Here you can see red peppers at Strawberry Fields.

Obtaining Organic, Fresh Food on a Budget

By Joanna Nowak, Natalie Leoni, Carissa Townsend, Gino DiVittorio/ For CU-CitizenAccess.org — University of Illinois research shows that “one in 12 seniors do not have access to adequate food due to lack of money or other financial resources.” This unfortunate phenomenon is called food insecurity. Seniors with food insecurity have a higher likelihood of certain health issues, including diabetes, high cholesterol, gum disease and high blood pressure. Supermarkets are often a go-to when shopping on a budget, however, some of these conventional markets lack in organic options. It is entirely possible for senior citizens to shop organic, get the necessary nutrients and not break the bank. Thankfully, elders can readily obtain health food at The Food Co-Op or Strawberry Fields. Both of these stores can be easily accessed by bus, so one does not need to have a car or driver’s license to access these food items.

Shopping organic for the first time can definitely be overwhelming.

Emily Lewis sits with one of her dogs at the Dog Training Club of Champaign-Urbana.

Unconditional Love: Pet ownership brings joy – and more – at any age

By  Jack Preis, Ralph Cooper, Sarah Soenke and Taylor Rooks/ For CU-CitizenAccess.org — According to the Humane Society, 62 percent of American households owned at least one pet 2012. While a majority of families keep pets as valuable family members, seniors citizens specifically can benefit from the companionship with these animals. There are numerous reasons why people find comfort and significance in their relationships with pets. But what are the specific advantages and disadvantages to senior citizens owning and caring for a pet? Research has shown senior citizens can benefit greatly from owning pets due to the age group’s particular challenges.