Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Bingo Volunteering

If you are one of the loyal bingo players who visit your favorite bingo center regularly, we have some great news for you! Scientific studies are revealing that bingo can have some not-so-obvious benefits. Winning is a great joy, but most seniors don’t only play to win. They actually enjoy the excitement and social atmosphere! Recent research has shown that playing bingo stimulates the following health benefits: • Cognitive strength: in a recent study, tests measured mental speed, memory and capacity to absorb specific kinds of information. The results concluded that bingo players are quicker and more accurate than non-bingo players. Research also found that older players outperformed younger players, so if you think our brains go into a steady decline as we age, think again. • Social well-being: Bingo gives seniors a fun and safe environment to connect with new and old friends while enjoying a game they all love to play. It brings seniors together while providing them a sense of belonging in the community. • Physical health: If you have ever attended a bingo event at one of our seniors clubs you may have experienced the laughter and excitement. Simply relaxing while playing a game with friends helps reduce stress and depression amongst seniors improving their physical health. In another separate but similar study, a survey of over 13,000 people and their bingo habits show the main reasons people are involved in Bingo include: chance to win, entertainment, like playing, socializing with friends, and support worthy causes. If you are looking for the opportunity to socialize and be with friends, have you considered playing bingo? Or perhaps you’d like to combine your desire to volunteer with Bingo. The Dale Association operates Bingo every Friday and is looking for volunteers. Volunteer as many or as few Fridays as you want. There are many different aspects of volunteering at Bingo – but all have the benefits of volunteering and being with others. For more information, contact Sherry Livergood at 433-1886 ext 109 or email her at

Eye and Vision Health

January is “Eye Health Month”. If a family member or friend is experiencing vision loss, you are in a position to provide much needed support. But, you may need support as well. You, too, may feel overwhelmed by questions, concerns and emotions that arise as a result. It can be hard to know where to begin, or how to get information and resources. Vision loss is not a normal part of aging, but the majority of Americans has limited knowledge about vision loss and aging and assumes – mistakenly – that older people become visually impaired as part of the normal aging process. The likelihood of vision impairment, however, does increase with age and will affect more and more families in the future. Among Americans age 65 and older, one in five reports some form of vision impairment, even when wearing eyeglasses. By age 75, this statistic jumps to one in four. In addition, most middle-aged and older Americans fear blindness more than other physical impairments. But, most people with impaired vision do not become totally blind. Armed with the right information, you can help identify serious vision problems, encourage your relative to seek professional care and be better prepared to help during the adjustment process. As we age, some vision changes are normal and some are due to eye disease. Normal changes usually can be corrected with a new eyeglass prescription or better lighting. But vision problems resulting from age-related eye diseases, such as macular degeneration, glaucoma, cataract or diabetic retinopathy, can cause permanent impairment or “low vision”. Low vision, however, does not mean “no vision”. And, although vision loss may be permanent, much can be done to maximize remaining vision and improve quality of life. Everyone – and most especially, older adults – should have regular eye exams to maintain eye health and for the early detection of conditions that cause low vision. People who become visually impaired later in life experience a range of feelings, including sadness, anger, worry, frustration, and fear. These feelings are common and understandable – and should not be ignored. Research has shown that family members can ease the adjustment to vision loss by listening to their relatives’ feelings and offering help when it’s needed. It’s often hard for family members to know when or how much to help. Take time to talk with your relative or friend about the things he/she can and cannot do, and ask what kind of help is needed.


Ann Morrow Lindbergh in her "In Hour of Gold, Hour of Head" said, “I do not believe that sheer suffering teaches. If suffering alone taught, then all the world would be wise, since everyone suffers. To suffering must be added mourning, understanding, patience, love, openness and the willingness to remain vulnerable. For those who cannot grieve or mourn, depression often is the end result. The depression assists the person by acting as a defense. The defense system includes denial of loss, separation from other activities that demand openness and vulnerability. In depression nothing is working to assist the person to grow through their grief and mourning. Those who use depression as a defense increase their risk of losing potential support of their social network. This risk is particularly true for the older widow. Widows tend to experience painful social relationships when her life is strongly tied to multi dimensions of her husband’s life. The more involvement the more his death will effect her life. The big question is what can a widow do to assist herself through her grief while being supported by a social network. What does it take to be open and vulnerable? Who is her support network? Children and lifelong friends can provide support, but they may become impatient with the time needed to mourn. Often it is only others who are newly widowed themselves that can understand the depth and breadth of pain caused by the death. So it is important not to push into the fast lane by well-meaning family and friends. By expressing feelings a widow is being open and vulnerable to those feelings. For the moment the feeling hurts, but they will not become depression. Eventually, the widow can live with her memories and undertake new activities, which are rewarding. Friend making, network building, finding new purpose are part of the way to mourn. This type of mourning is far healthier than using depression as a defense. The Dale Association’ Senior Centre can be reached at 433-1886. Other communities offer senior activities.