May is Older American’s Month. The theme for this year’s event, sponsored by the Administration on Aging (AOA), is "Never Too Old to Play". You can download a free copy of AOA’s "Never Too Old to Play Activity Guide" that includes activities for commemorating the month. You can combine direction from the guide with many of the activities that are a part of NFPA’s Remembering When™: A Fire and Fall Prevention Program for Older Adults. The "Never Too Old to Play" guide recommends physical activity, including Tai Chi and other exercise, to build strength and balance. Through the Remembering When program, we recommend the same kind of exercise as the number one message for preventing fall prevention: "Exercise regularly to build strength and balance".
The "Never Too Old to Play Guide" also recommends brain exercises for fun and recommends holding a trivia competition. We know from our user feedback that one of the most popular activities in the Remembering When program is the trivia game that couples questions on famous people, places, music, television shows and movies with questions on fire and fall prevention. You could go a step further and work with a local radio station to have people call in to answer the various Remembering When trivia questions.
We supply Remembering When PowerPoint presentations, as well as Remembering When materials in multiple languages on NFPA’s website Remembering When pages.
You can also use information on how to conduct a fire department open house for older adults from NFPA’s Fire Prevention Week materials. The open house plan includes ideas for various learning stations and downloadable safety posters.
AOA’s "Never Too Old to Play" guide also offers many intergenerational activities. NFPA’s www.Sparky.org offers many activities and games that grandparents can do with their grandchildren.
Larry Gray, Public Information Officer for the Cleveland Fire Department, has given close to 200 presentations on Remembering When to groups in the city of Cleveland and says that the reason older adults enjoy the program so much is because they like the trip down memory lane and they love the interaction with the trivia game and all the props and handouts.
If you use any of these activities or ideas during Older Americans Month, please contact me at [email protected] so I can share your successes and ideas with others.