Provided by the Milwaukee County Department on Aging
A recent report published by the Associated Press lists Milwaukee County as the second least healthiest county in Wisconsin, finishing at number 71 of the 72 counties.
The University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation released the rankings on Wednesday, March 20, 2013. The groups ranked the counties based on 25 factors that influence health.
Some factors include rates of smoking, obesity levels, and access to medical care. The ranking system is based on a model of population health that emphasizes factors that, if improved, can assist communities in becoming healthier places to live, learn, work and play.
The University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute has used this model since 2003. To access the report you can find it at the following link http://www.countyhealthrankings.org The results of this study are concerning and suggest a need for action in Milwaukee County. Various Milwaukee County and City of Milwaukee Departments, along with community organizations, are working together to improve the quality of life for Milwaukee County residents.
An example of this action is the Let’s Move Milwaukee Initiative. Let’s Move! is a comprehensive initiative, launched by the First Lady, Michelle Obama, dedicated to solving the problem of obesity. Milwaukee was designated as a Let’s Move city in July 2012.
For older adults, the Milwaukee County Department on Aging has recognized the challenge that exists and has initiated evidence based prevention programs addressing chronic health conditions, falls prevention, and diabetes.
Each evidenced based prevention program is provided in a workshop format meeting one time a week for 6 or 7 weeks depending on the program topic. Each meeting is held for either two hours or two and one-half hours.
The three programs are titled: “Living Well with Chronic Conditions”, “Stepping On-Falls Prevention Program”, and “Healthy Living with Diabetes.” Living Well with Chronic Conditions is for people with lifelong health conditions, such as heart disease, cancer, arthritis and diabetes. The program covers the topics of: dealing with pain and fatigue, healthy eating and exercise, effective communication with healthcare providers, and evaluating new treatment options.
Stepping On-Falls Prevention is designed for people who are at a risk for falling, have a fear of falling and/or have fallen one or more times. The subjects covered include: simple and fun strength and balance exercises, how vision affects balance, how medication can contribute to falls, safety in the community, safe footwear and home safety hazards.
Healthy Living with Diabetes is a program for people that have diabetes, pre-diabetes, or live with someone who has diabetes.
The program covers techniques to deal with symptoms of diabetes, healthy eating and exercise, reading nutrition labels, effective communication, and action plans.
The evidence based prevention programs are provided at different locations throughout Milwaukee County and on varying days and times.
To find a workshop of interest to you visit the Milwaukee County Department on Aging website www.county.milwaukee.gov/aging and search the evidence based prevention programs.
Another wellness resource available to older adults in Milwaukee County is the senior friendly fitness centers.
If you are interested in stretching, exercising, lifting weights, walking on a treadmill, or pedaling a stationary bicycle, you can workout at a Milwaukee County owned, Interfaith supervised, senior fitness centers, located at one of the five Milwaukee County Senior Centers.
Fitness center hours vary per site; however they are generally available Monday – Friday during daytime hours. Locations include: Clinton & Bernice Rose Senior Center, McGovern Park Senior Center, Washington Park Senior Center, Wilson Park Senior Center, and Kelly Senior Center.
An additional fitness center is available at the OASIS senior center.
There is no cost to use the fitness center and individuals wanting to use the center must complete registration paperwork and attend a brief orientation session.
If you are interested in attending the fitness center please contact the senior center directly to gain additional information.
Social engagement has been identified as a dimension of wellness that is often in decline for older adults.
As individuals age they may choose to become more isolated or may not be aware of social opportunities.
The result of social decline has associated influences on physical, cognitive and emotional wellness also.
It is essential, as we age, that we seek social interaction opportunities whether it is face to face or through electronic means.
The Milwaukee County Department on Aging provides or supports a variety of social opportunities. As previously mentioned there are five Milwaukee County owned senior centers that provide daily activities focused on social interaction, facilitated by Interfaith Older Adult program.
There are many other community organizations that provide social engagement opportunities including travel clubs, educational classes on how to use electronics for social interaction, and special events.
We encourage you to seek out these opportunities and engage socially with others to maintain your overall wellness.
It has been said that it takes a community to build a community.
We can take this principle and apply it to building a healthy community.
We can all recognize that it will take a unified effort to improve Milwaukee County’s ranking on the healthiest counties in Wisconsin list.
Given the resources that exist and their availability throughout the county I feel confident progress can be made.
Join us in making strides to a healthier Milwaukee and a healthier Wisconsin. Please take advantage of the resources available in your community and through the Milwaukee County Department on Aging.
For more information on how to get involved or learn more about evidence based exercise programs and our fitness centers, call 414 –289-6352.
Milwaukee County Golden Idol voting parties Get out and have some fun.
Cast your vote at local area senior center “voting parties”, vote for your favorite act or performance. Contact your local senior center for details on dates and times. www.county.milwaukee.gov/aging Visit Milwaukee County Department on Aging Staff Visit us at the following event:
• 50 Plus Fest & Retirement Show on Thursday, April 25, 2013 at Mayfair Mall from 9:00 am to 2:00 pm. The Milwaukee County Golden Idols will perform on the main stage.
To learn more about the Milwaukee County Department on Aging services and programs, please call 414-289-6874 or visit our website at www.county.milwaukee.gov/aging.
The mission of Milwaukee County Department on Aging is to affirm the dignity and value of older adults of Milwaukee County by supporting their choices for living in, and giving to, our community.