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Yuma Health Groups Sensitizing People To The Process Of Aging

Stephanie Sanchez

The “Silver Tsunami” is a metaphor used to refer to the sharp increase of people in the United States turning 65 years old by 2030.

At a sensitivity workshop put on by a local health center this week, participants learned how to understand some of the common changes that come with aging.

KAWC’s Stephanie Sanchez reports.

Dozens of participants at the Goodwill Career Center in Yuma took part in various simulations involving eyesight, hearing, touch, smell and taste.

The training, hosted by the Sunset Community Health Center as part of National Health Center Week, was aimed at people who work or will work with older adults.

Laura Falender of Western Arizona Council of Government's Department on Aging, led the sensitivity training to help people develop empathy and learn to modify their behaviors when interacting with older adults.

"So that people learn be a little more patient, to slow down a little even if that just means talking a little slower, walking a little slower and realizing that you know the response times might not be as fast as it would be for the younger population," Falender said.

Participant Jomyda Muñoz, who works with Yuma County Health Department, said patience is key.

"They do need help and they do need assistance most of the time and we have to be patient with them," Muñoz said.

Muñoz said knowing we'll all be there ourselves one day makes the simulations meaningful to those caring for older adults."

Credit Stephanie Sanchez
Simple tasks such as filling out an application or opening a prescription bottle were made difficult by the "losing their sense of touch" simulation.