Older adults may or may not consider themselves “seniors,” but as we age, our needs, goals, and priorities change. We’ve pulled together a list of resources for older adults to help you in your search for information or inspiration for yourself or a loved one.
Table of Contents
Fitness Wellness Learn, Grow, & Connect Health Insurance Retirement Social Services Alzheimer’s & Dementia Services Caregiving
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According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “As an older adult, regular physical activity is one of the most important things you can do for your health. It can prevent many of the health problems that seem to come with age. Keep in mind, some physical activity is better than none at all. Your health benefits will also increase with the more physical activity that you do.” The overall message is move more and sit less.
For articles, how-tos, and tracking tools related to exercise for older adults, visit the National Institute of Aging or Medline Plus, an online health information resource produced by the National Library of Medicine.
SilverSneakers is a health and fitness program designed for adults 65+ that’s included with many Medicare Plans.
- Access live online fitness classes and an on-demand video library of prerecorded workouts.
- Take fun exercise classes designed for seniors of all fitness levels led by trained instructors.
- Go to thousands of gyms, community centers, and other participating fitness locations across the nation.
- You can check your SilverSneakers eligibility at silversneakers.com
In South Bend, SilverSneakers is accepted at O’Brien Fitness Center and YMCA Partnership and The Salvation Army Ray & Joan Kroc Community Center. It is also accepted at a variety of gyms in St. Joseph County. Contact your favorite gym to see if they participate in SilverSneakers. Find articles on getting started with different types of exercise and staying motivated in the SilverSneakers blog.
AARP Fitness Videos have exercises you can do from home. Find videos 2-15 minutes long on yoga, walking, cardio, and strength training.
National Institute of Aging YouTube page includes popular exercise videos.
“Wellness refers to the pursuit of a healthy, balanced lifestyle focused on both the mind and the body,” as described by the National Council on Aging. “Pursuing wellness also means following healthy aging strategies, and implementing lifestyle changes that can prevent diseases before they occur.” Here are some resources to help you maintain your physical, mental and emotional health.
National Council on Aging provides seven tips for aging well by taking care of your body and mind and finding meaningful activities to engage in.
Johns Hopkins Medicine encourages people to think beyond financial preparedness for retirement and to make plans for maintaining a high quality of life by pursuing enriching activities. Retirement may lead to new life stressors making it all the more important to keep up your social network and stress reducing activities.
Activities for Seniors Facing Loneliness is a guide created by the Health and Wellness Awareness Council that lists virtual and in-person activities to help people experiencing isolation or a lack of purpose find new ways to connect with others and explore their interests.
Friendship Line 800-971-0016 is the only accredited crisis line in the country for people aged 60 years and older, and adults living with disabilities.The Institute on Aging’s 24-hour toll-free Friendship Line provides crisis intervention by trained volunteers who also make on-going outreach calls to lonely older adults. People aged 60 and over can call the Friendship Line for non-emergency emotional support if they are feeling lonely, depressed, anxious, or worried.
Meditation apps offer guided meditations, music, and programs to help everyone from beginners to the advanced relax, destress and focus. Mindful.org (March 2021) reviews 5 apps with free options to access thousands of recordings. Simply download the app of your choice to start exploring.
Learn, Grow, & Connect
Bendable – What do you want to learn? Just like checking out a book from the library, you can now check out a class with Bendable! You can use Bendable to explore a new passion, grow your career, or find a new hobby, all for free! Whether you want to become a gardener, learn Spanish, start your own business, or simply find resources to help kids with their homework, there’s something for everyone.
The Bendable website is available on any internet-connected device – computer, laptop, tablet, phone. Just go to southbend.bendable.com and sign up using your St. Joe County Public Library Card or enter a South Bend zip code to get a temporary 30-day access to all of Bendable. Need a library card? Find out how to get a SJCPL card here.
Senior Planet – Senior Planet’s goal is to teach older adults (age 60 and above) around the nation how to use technology in order to improve their lives. Their site offers a wide range of free classes, tutorials, lectures, and articles on using computers, cloud storage, smart TVs, social media, online dating, video chatting, and much more. Online classes also cover fitness, art, mindfulness, and other topics relevant to older adults. Membership to Senior Planet is optional. Senior Planet and OATS (Older Adults Technology Services) are charitable affiliates of AARP.
Have a technology question? Call the National Senior Planet Hotline: 888-713-3495 Open Monday – Friday, 9am – 5pm EST.
Forever Learning Institute is offered right here in St. Joseph County for anyone age 50 and up. Take 10-week courses in history, political science, music, foreign language, creative arts, literature, spirituality, health and wellness, technology and computers, and business. Classes taught by people who are well-versed and passionate about their fields. Classes provide plenty of opportunity for interaction. $55 per course but scholarships are offered. During the pandemic, FLI is offering classes virtually through Zoom, but they look forward to returning to in-person instruction in the future. 574-282-1901
University of Notre Dame’s Inspired Leadership Initiative – Make the move from “retired life” to “inspired life” through Notre Dame’s Inspired Leadership Initiative aimed at people who may be at retirement age but are interested in applying themselves in new, challenging ways. Spend a year on campus exploring and discerning how to apply your skills, talents, and interests in the next phase of your life. Check out the FAQ page to see if the program might be right for you.
Listen to the Inspired Leadership Initiative’s Inspired Conversations online series available to everyone through ThinkND, the University’s open online learning community. Inspired Conversations’ guest speakers will share stories, perspectives, and lessons learned from their own experiences as leaders – personally, within their organizations, and in their communities.
BBC Future: a look at the 100 Year Life series offers a global look at lifestyles that lead to longevity. Here’s an article from the series: “The Ingredients for a Longer Life.” BBC Future describes itself as a home for slowing down, delving deep, and shifting perspectives by offering in-depth evidence-based analysis and deeply researched stories on “almost every topic that matters.”
Next Avenue PBS is a journalism website launched by PBS with advice, information, conversations, and stories curated for people over 50. Read stories online about living with purpose, careers, health, money, family, entertainment, and more. Next Avenues presents original essays by readers in Telling Our Stories. Follow Next Avenues on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, or sign up for their email newsletters.
Medicare – Who is Eligible and What Does it Cost
According to the US Department of Health & Human Services: “Generally, Medicare is available for people age 65 or older, younger people with disabilities and people with End Stage Renal Disease (permanent kidney failure requiring dialysis or transplant). Medicare has two parts, Part A (Hospital Insurance) and Part B (Medicare Insurance). You are eligible for premium-free Part A if you are age 65 or older and you or your spouse worked and paid Medicare taxes for at least 10 years.”
“While most people do not have to pay a premium for Part A, everyone must pay for Part B if they want it. This monthly premium is deducted from your Social Security, Railroad Retirement, or Civil Service Retirement check. If you do not get any of these payments, Medicare sends you a bill for your Part B premium every 3 months. Since January 1, 2006, everyone with Medicare, regardless of income, health status, or prescription drug usage has had access to prescription drug coverage. For more information, you may wish to visit the Prescription Drug Coverage site.”
The State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) is a free and impartial counseling program that helps you with the Medicare enrollment process. Once you are enrolled in Medicare, SHIP counselors can help you explore Medigap plans or help you apply for Money Saving Programs, Extra Help, or Hoosier RX. These programs help you pay for Medicare Part A, B and D premiums and deductibles. Speak to a SHIP counselor at a local HealthLinc office by calling 888-580-1060.
If You Are Not Eligible for Medicare
Hoosier Care Connect is a health care program for individuals who are aged 65 years and older, blind, or disabled and who are also not eligible for Medicare. This is an Indiana Medicaid program.
According to the US Department of Labor, the average American spends roughly 20 years in retirement. Experts estimate that you will need 70 to 90 percent of your pre-retirement income to maintain your standard of living when you stop working. For most workers, a multifaceted approach to retirement savings includes Social Security retirement benefits.
Social Security Administration
Full Retirement Age
Full retirement age is the age when you will be able to collect your full retirement benefit amount. The full retirement age is 66 if you were born from 1943 to 1954. The full retirement age increases gradually if you were born from 1955 to 1960, until it reaches 67. For anyone born 1960 or later, full retirement benefits are payable at age 67.
Early Retirement Age
You can get Social Security retirement benefits as early as age 62. However, your benefit is reduced if you start receiving benefits before your full retirement age.
Delayed Retirement Age
When you delay collecting benefits beyond your full retirement age, the amount of your retirement benefit will continue to increase up until age 70. There is no incentive to delay claiming after age 70.
Ready to retire? You can submit your SSA benefits application online. SSA warns of long wait times, but the SSA phone number is: 1-800-772-1213
Publications on Retirement Planning – If you are approaching retirement, find publications in English and Spanish produced by the US Department of Labor, Employee Benefits Security Administration, on topics of “Retirement and Healthcare Coverage” and “What You Should Know About Your Retirement Plan.” Or visit the US Department of Labor’s Consumer Information on Retirement Plans.
US Department of Veterans Affairs offers U.S. military veterans age 65 and above a variety of benefits. For helpful tips, reminders, and explanations for retiring veterans, visit MilitaryBenefits.info.
Indiana Legal Services lists “5 Must-Dos for Hoosiers Nearing or In Retirement.” Certain legal documents can protect older adults at any income level to make sure your wishes are carried out regarding healthcare decisions, power of attorney, longterm care, and management of your wealth and resources.
Indiana Legal Help will help you find legal help in your area, free forms, information, and attorneys by “practice area” including Estate Planning. Indiana Legal Help is a project of the Coalition for Court Access created to make legal assistance more accessible to Hoosiers.
Area Agency on Aging/Aging & Disability Resource Center
If you search the internet for information related to seniors, you often run across the phrase, “contact your local Area Agency on Aging.” Websites might also direct you to find your local “Aging and Disability Resource Center.” According to IN.gov, Indiana’s Area Agencies on Aging/ Aging and Disability Resource Centers cover 16 geographic regions within Indiana and are charged with providing a comprehensive array of services to, and advocating for, the needs of Hoosiers residing in their areas.
If you live in St. Joseph, Elkhart, LaPorte, Kosciusko, or Marshall County in Indiana, your Area Agency on Aging/Aging and Disability Resource Center (ADRC) is located at REAL Services in South Bend. The ADRC at REAL Services provides options counseling for individuals and their caregivers. Certified care managers talk with you to learn about your situation, answer your questions, and present you with options according to your needs and circumstances.
REAL Services, Inc.
Area Agency on Aging/Aging & Disability Resource Center
1151 S. Michigan St.
South Bend, IN 46601
- Serves 5 Indiana counties; St. Joseph, Elkhart, LaPorte, Kosciusko, and Marshall
- Certified Care Managers speak with you one-on-one to learn about your unique situation and tell you about services that might meet your needs.
- Takes applications for the Aged & Disabled Medicaid Waiver
Aged & Disabled Medicaid Waiver
The Aging and Disability Resource Center at REAL Services also accepts applications for the Medicaid Waiver that may help pay for services that a person needs in order to remain in an independent living setting. According to IN.gov, the Aged & Disabled Medicaid Waiver “allows individuals who are aged, blind, or disabled to remain in their home as an alternative to nursing facility placement.” Individuals must meet eligibility requirements to qualify for the waiver. You can call REAL Services for helpful information about this.
Meals on Wheels
REAL Services is home to the Meals on Wheels program that provides nutritious noon and evening meals for homebound individuals aged 60 and above who can no longer prepare meals for themselves. Phone: 574-256-1649. A printable intake form is available online that you can print, fill out, and mail in or scan to email email@example.com.
REAL Services offers transportation assistance to people aged 60 and up for essential appointments and meetings. The service is not income based and there is no charge although donations are encouraged. Phone: 574-284-7174. A printable intake form is available online that you can print, fill out, and mail in or scan to email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP)
CSFP is a program of the Food Bank of Northern Indiana for low-income seniors who are at least 60 years old and have an income that is at or less than 130% of the federal poverty level. The program serves residents of St. Joseph, Elkhart, LaPorte, and Marshall Counties in northern Indiana. Phone: 574-232-9986 ext. 129.
Saint Joseph Health System Telecare Program
This is a free telephone reassurance service sponsored daily (Mon.-Sat.) by the Saint Joseph Health System Auxiliary and supported by Mishawaka Medical Center. Speak to a volunteer caller daily to hear a friendly voice and connect with someone outside your home. Great for people who live alone because you call in or receive a call every day. For more information or to request an application, call Volunteer Services at 574-335-1125.
Milton Adult Day Services
“Milton Adult Day Services, a service of Center for Hospice Care, provides a structured setting to adults who need health, social, and support services during the day. This community-based service is designed to meet the individual needs of functionally impaired adults who require supervision during the day.” Call Milton Adult Day Services to schedule a visit. 574-232-2666.
(Temporary Milton Adult Day Services location)
3607 South Grape Road
Mishawaka, IN 46545
(Upcoming Milton Adult Day Services location)
111 Sunnybrook Ct.
Roseland, IN 46637
Habitat for Humanity of St. Joseph County’s Aging in Place
This program works in collaboration with several other community programs to “help seniors over the age of 60 in St. Joseph County continue to live in their own homes and community safely, independently and comfortably.” Check with Habitat for Humanity to see when they accept applications for roof repair or home projects.
St. Joseph PACE
PACE stands for Programs of All-inclusive Care for the Elderly. It serves as an alternative to nursing home care by providing “all-inclusive care” through the St. Joseph Health System. Medicare and Medicaid covers daytime services out of the home that include transportation to the day center, meals and snacks, socialization, oversight of care, and some on-sight care at the center. PACE helps keep people in their homes by providing essential daytime care to relieve family caregivers.
SAGE, Advocacy and Services for LGBT Elders
24/7 SAGE Hotline: 877-360-LGBT (5428)
SAGE “makes aging better for LGBT people nationwide.” Offers a hotline for LGBT older people and their caregivers to talk with friendly responders who are ready to listen and certified in crisis response. Hotline responders provide information about community support resources such as healthcare, transportation, counseling, legal services, and emotional support programs. Offered in English and Spanish, with translation in 180 languages.
US Department of Health & Human Services – Healthy Aging
Visit this site for lots of educational information and nationwide resources on healthy aging as well as caregiver resources, retirement planning, elder justice, mental health, disease specific information, prescription drugs, nutrition, and more.
Adult Protective Services
Indiana is a mandatory report state, meaning everyone is required by law to report cases of suspected neglect, battery or exploitation of an endangered adult to an APS unit or law enforcement. All reports are secured and kept confidential. Submit a report online here. Or call the Indiana state hotline 800-992-6978.
Alzheimer’s & Dementia Services
“Alzheimer’s disease is a degenerative brain disease and the most common form of dementia. Dementia is not a specific disease. It’s an overall term that describes a group of symptoms.” -The Alzheimer’s Association
“More than 5 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s Disease.” -The Alzheimer’s Association
“It is estimated that over 110,000 Hoosiers are living with Alzheimer’s disease while over 338,000 care partners provide unpaid care and support.” -Alzheimer’s & Dementia Services of Northern IN
If you have Alzheimer’s disease or some other form of dementia or are helping care for someone who does, you can reach out to the following organizations for free expert advice, education, and training from compassionate professionals.
The Alzheimer’s Association
24/7 Helpline 800-272-3900
-This is a totally free helpline that provides 24/7 support whether you are struggling with something happening in your home right now, grappling with an on-going issue, or simply feeling confused, overwhelmed, or in need of information. They also follow up by emailing you information or educational material related to the issues you discussed on the phone. They can connect you with in-person or virtual support groups that fit your schedule.
Powered by the Alzheimer’s Association®, Alzconnected is a free online community for everyone affected by Alzheimer’s or another dementia, including: people with the disease; caregivers; family members; friends; individuals who have lost someone to Alzheimer’s.
Alzheimer’s & Dementia Services of Northern IN, a Division of REAL Service
Hotline: 888-303-0180 staffed Mon.-Fri. 8am-5pm.
Call for information on Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia, referral to local services, troubleshooting, long term care planning, and assistance with challenges you are facing right now.
On the website, find Alzheimer’s and dementia related disease information that is concise and well-organized. Schedule a memory screening or family consultation, borrow Activity Kits to engage your loved one, or find a support group near you.
“A caregiver gives care to someone who needs help taking care of themselves. The person who needs help may be a child, an adult, or an older adult. They may need help because of an injury or disability. Or they may have a chronic illness such as Alzheimer’s disease or cancer.” –Medline Plus Trusted Health Information for You by the US National Library of Medicine
“About 1 in 4 Americans are caregivers. Most caregivers also have other jobs and spend an average of 24 hours a week caring for a loved one.” –My Healthfinder Office of Disease Prevention & Health Promotion, US Dept. of Health and Human Services
A public service of the US Administration on Aging connecting you to services for older adults and their families. Enter your zip code to get started or call 800-677-1116 Mon-Fri 9am-8pm ET.
“We understand that caring for a loved one can be hard, but we’re here to help! Throughout Indiana, there are programs and services to support caregivers. We have listed resources to help you be the best caregiver you can be.” Find resources for families, spouses, partners and disease/disorder specific support.
Helps you find senior living options near you. Offers beginner guides on Medicaid and Medicare, veterans benefits, estate planning, talking about difficult topics with loved ones, caregiver burnout, and more. You can also call 800-973-1540. This site is recommended by the National Alliance for Caregiving.
Resources for caregivers and their families whether you have just begun the caregiving process or are a caregiver veteran. Connect with other caregivers from all walks of life.
LGBT Senior Guide: Key Considerations and Resources
Provides a detailed review of issues that LGBTQ older adults may face when seeking housing, healthcare, and support services. Helpful to keep in mind if you are coordinating your own affairs or those of a loved one.
St. Joseph County Public Library
Search our catalog for material on caregiving including books, ebooks, e-audiobooks and streaming videos. Find out how to get a library card here.
“Getting Started with Long-Distance Caregiving” by the National Institute on Aging
“Caring for Your Nutrition” Caregivers often overlook their own nutritional needs but following these tips can help you stay hydrated and nourished to reduce the negative effects of stress. Provided by the IN Family & Social Services Administration Division on Aging
“Caregiver Stress & Burnout” Understand caregiver stress and burnout and what to do about it from helpguide.org
“Caregiver Stress: Tips for taking care of yourself” by Mayo Clinic
“Caregiver Burnout: Steps for Coping with Stress” by AARP
“Caregiver Stress” by Alzheimer’s Association