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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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Preparing for the unpredictable: Urbana assisted living home regularly practices fire safety

By Joe Moyles, Carl Rosenberg, Charlie Maniates and Rebecca Jacobs / For CU-CitizenAccess.org — The U.S. Fire Administration said that in 2010, adults 65 years or older represented only 13 percent of the U.S. population, but made up 35 percent of all fire deaths. They also said individuals 65 years or over are 2.7 times more likely to die in a fire than the rest of the general population. The staff at Meadowbrook Health Center in Urbana, Illinois, emphasized the importance in educating and preparing their residents in case of a fire when we talked to them in this video. How Meadowbrook Prepares
Meadowbrook is part of Clark-Lindsey, not-for-profit continuing care retirement community in Urbana. “We go through annually a fire extinguisher program, and then every quarter is a training program where we actually drill an actual fire drill system,” said Fred Lux, director of environmental services at Meadowbrook.

State officials overhaul nursing home care

In July 2010, Gov. Pat Quinn signed into law two bills that introduced broad reforms for the state’s nursing homes.

The laws strengthened the screening process to keep residents with histories of violent crimes separate from vulnerable, elderly residents; instituted tougher quality and staffing requirements; upped fines for violations; increased the number of state inspectors by nearly 50 percent; and added new requirements for quicker reporting of fraud, neglect and abuse, among other changes.