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May is Older Americans Month, observed by Presidential Proclamation since 1963, to highlight issues that affect older adults and create community-wide opportunities to help older Americans improve their quality of life.

Adults 65 years and older comprise twelve percent of the population today, and are increasing in numbers three times faster than the population as a whole.  By 2030, one in every five Americans will be age 65 or older. 

In Tazewell County, the number of senior adults is sixteen percent of the population.

This year’s theme is “Living Today For a Better Tomorrow,” focusing on the importance of giving older adults the tools they need to make healthy decisions.

One of the best tools available is SeniorNavigator, a powerhouse of online information of interest to all older citizens and their families.  A partnership of the Commonwealth of Virginia, the Virginia Department for the Aging, local governments, and private sector groups, SeniorNavigator is a gateway to information on aging, health, transportation, financial planning, housing, long-term care, and legal concerns. The non-profit organization provides services with a zip-code search for health facilities, assisted living, support groups, and more.

The Health section includes articles on community health centers and free clinics for the under-insured, community service boards offering mental health, mental retardation and substance abuse services, health departments, hospital services, home care service and finding the right providers, hospice care, medical conditions, and pharmaceutical information.

The Legal section discusses consumer protection, future planning, and insurance.  You will find articles on estate planning, retirement planning, power of attorney, wills, advance medical directive, long term care insurance, Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security, veterans’ benefits, among others.

The Housing and Long-Term Care section covers adult day services, assisted living, continuing care retirement communities, nursing homes, assistive devices, home modification for safety and fall prevention, and subsidized housing.

The Caregiving section addresses Alzheimer’s and dementia, grandparents raising grandchildren, long-distance caregiving, home health care, hospice, taking care of yourself, balancing work and caregiving, coping with depression, stress management, and respite care.

The Aging Well section provides information on mind and body, prevention, and quality of life.  Articles include alternative medicine, brain fitness, nutrition, physical activity, drug safety, immunizations, screenings, lifelong learning, and spirituality.

The Community section has overviews of services offered by various agencies and learning and recreation opportunities.

Within each of these subsections are numerous articles with a wealth of practical information.

Interactive features allow you to search for resources by zip code, to ask an expert, and to bookmark articles of interest for future reference in your personal library.

Those responsible for care for their parents or older relatives could benefit from exploring all that SeniorNavigator offers, and could save time and anxiety in researching options by starting with this tool.  Find it under Electronic Resources at TCPL’s website at

Celebrate older Americans and help them improve their quality of life with SeniorNavigator.

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