Resources — Websites
The National Center for Creative Aging (NCCA) promotes creative expression in older adults as a pathway to healthy aging, based on a landmark study measuring the effects of structured arts programs on seniors. NCCA’s website offers tips to spur imagination and suggestions on finding local classes, from painting to music to theater. You'll find webinars, articles and blogs that support the idea that you will live longer and healthier if you embrace and explore your creativity.
EverydayHealth.com sets itself apart by focusing on healthy living every day. Under the heading of Senior Health, you'll find information on Healthy Aging, Healthy Body, Preventive Care and Long-Term Planning. You can test the video symptom checker, learn about drug interactions or sign up for a newsletter. Be aware that some links will take you off-site.
You don’t have to register to take advantage of great sections like Food and Fitness, which discusses diet and exercise and contains healthful recipes. Interactive features, such as the Healthy Meal Planner, are reserved for registered users, who can create a customized home page, start a blog, track friends, collect recipes, upload photos and chart diet progress.
Consumer’s Tool Kit for Health Care Advance Planning
Even if you have signed a living will or advance directive, studies show your wishes might not be properly understood or respected. That’s why the American Bar Association created the Consumer’s Tool Kit for Health Care Advance Planning. These self-help work sheets offer practical guidance for a complex topic.
For example, have you explained your end-of-life or long-term-care preferences to your loved ones? The tool kit provides conversation tips and sample scripts. Do you need to designate a proxy? Use the provided guide to help you evaluate the best person for the job. Want to ensure your values or religious beliefs are honored? A questionnaire walks you through the considerations. The Tool Kit makes it easier to plan for the future for everyone.
MayoClinic.com is the go-to resource for managing your health. Its specialty medical editors are leaders in their fields, and the award-winning site provides reliable, readable, up-to-date content. Search the alphabetical listing of Diseases and Conditions or use the Symptom Checker to assess a nagging problem. The Checker lists possible causes and vital information, including when to see a doctor.
The comprehensive guides provide definitions, symptoms and causes for countless health concerns, as well as tips for prepping for an appointment. You will find descriptions of tests, treatments, drugs and alternative-medicine options. Under the Healthy Lifestyle tab, there are categories for healthy aging, caregivers and many end-of-life issues. You can signup for a weekly e-newsletter, Housecall.
Life (Part 2)
The PBS series Life (Part 2) targets baby boomers interested in redefining what it means to be midlife and growing older. If you missed this insightful show when it first aired in 2009, you can now watch all 32 episodes of Season 1 and Season 2 on PBS online. Each episode opens with a roundtable of respected experts, who provide insights on issues from caregiving to second careers. Host Robert Lipsyte, a former New York Times columnist, also conducts one-on-one interviews with celebrity boomers: Martha Stewart discusses letting go of a parent, Mike Huckabee talks about weight problems, and Faye Wattleton addresses the politics of plastic surgery. Episodes wrap with short video essays.
Visitors to the site get the added bonus of web “exclusives” not included in the originally aired broadcasts. Or click the Resources tab for recommended books and links.
CarePages.com harnesses the community-building potential of the Internet to create a hub for family and friends of a patient. The service is free for registered members, who may set up a personalized web page for themselves or someone else. A CarePage can include status updates, progress reports, patient bio, photo gallery and tips for supporting the patient. There are tools for inviting people to participate or to receive e-mail alerts when a page is updated. These virtual gathering spots can provide comfort to caregivers and care receivers alike. Members can decide how private they want their page to be. They can search the main site to find others with similar health challenges.
Carepages, owned by Everyday Health, Inc., is also featured on the websites of hundreds of hospitals and medical facilities around the country.
Founded in 1996, the Women’s Institute For A Secure Retirement (WISER) educates women of all ages about the issues that affect their retirement income, such as financial planning, health care, savings, major life events and investing. WISER conducts workshops and offers webinars and a vast library of online resources focusing on women’s specific needs. Those resources include fact sheets, publications, special reports, a blog and a newsletter. The information ranges from basic to in-depth. For instance, you can learn the five things a mother should tell her daughter about money and retirement, how to read your Social Security statement or improve your credit score, and what financial risks you face if your spouse dies.
American Federation for Aging Research
Since its inception in the early 1980s, the American Federation for Aging Research (AFAR) has had a two-fold mission: to fund cutting-edge research in the field of aging and to share the latest findings with the public. Both prongs of AFAR’s work are meant to promote healthier living for longer.
Infoaging is AFAR’s online treasure trove for general readers. You'll find lifestyle articles about nutrition, immunization, exercise and more. Read news of cancer vaccine research or the benefits calorie-restricted diets. The site’s Disease Center provides information about many of the illnesses that can affect us as we grow older. Each topic discusses the connection between aging and a specific disease and links to more resources, both online and print. If you don’t find what you’re looking for, you can submit a question to an expert.
It’s easy to see why WebMD.com has received the People’s Voice Webby Award in the health category. Click on the Health A-Z section to research symptoms, diagnoses and treatment options for thousands of conditions. Noteworthy sections include Healthy Living, Mental Health and Eating & Diet. The site offers health-management tools, including a symptom checker, physician directory, games, calculators, blogs, moderated community boards, self-assessments, guides to drugs and medical tests, and input from experts. For aging-specific content, click on the 50+ link in the Healthy Living menu. This section features articles, videos and slide shows on physical, mental or emotional aspects of aging, from wrinkles to retirement planning. Narrow your focus to what ails you or pick up pointers that just might help you live better and longer.
The Independent Transportation Network (ITN) is the first US grassroots transportation “network” for seniors. ITN is dedicated to ensuring lifelong mobility by providing rides to people over 60 through affiliate programs across the country. The website features ITN’s mission, history, research projects and public-policy news. If you want to improve senior transportation in your community, check the Get Involved drop-down menu for instructions on volunteering, making donations and expanding ITN’s reach.
The Silver Century Foundation promotes a positive view of aging. The Foundation challenges entrenched and harmful stereotypes, encourages dialogue between generations, advocates planning for the second half of life, and raises awareness to educate and inspire everyone to live long, healthy, empowered lives.
"It is not by muscle, speed, or physical dexterity that great things are achieved, but by reflection, force of character, and judgment; in these qualities old age is usually not poorer, but is even richer."
Cicero (106-43 BC)