As you age, the ways you take care of yourself and stay healthy can change. It isn't too late to start using resources that can help you achieve and maintain wellness throughout your life.
There are a number of ways older New Jerseyans can take care of themselves and practice wellness.
Senior centers offer group meals and activities, hold community events, and promote socialization and education. These community activities can reduce isolation that can be harmful to mental health, and many programs directly address matters of wellness and physical health, such as meditation classes. Senior centers are locally based and can be found across the State. To find the center nearest you, use ADRCNJ’s search tool and follow the instructions to refine your search by county.
Evidence-based wellness programs
The Division of Aging Services offers a number of evidence-based wellness programs that address a variety of issues, from chronic disease self-management to fall prevention. For a complete list of programs, additional details, and scheduling information, read pages 31-36 of the DoAS Program Guide or call 609-438-4797 or 609-438-4798.
Caregivers across the country come from all walks of life, but older adults make up a significant proportion of those providing care and an even greater proportion of care recipients. Caregivers are at higher risk of stress and overwork, but this does not need to be the case. An overview of programs for caregivers can be found in the Caregiver Resources section of the ADRCNJ website. Here, you can find information for new caregivers, frequently asked questions about caregiving, and details of how to take advantage of the programs the State has to offer.
Support groups can help individuals with common problems or who are in a similar life situation feel less alone by allowing them to share their experiences in a group setting. Many of these programs can be found at local senior centers or medical facilities, and the topics span from medical issues to new life situations, such as the loss of a partner. A list of support groups in New Jersey can be found by visiting the following ADRC link: Support Groups.
Volunteering can be a good way to stay connected to your community and can contribute to an increased sense of wellbeing.
- The State Office of Volunteerism website is the best place to find an overview of available opportunities, including a list of statewide, regional, and county volunteer centers that support and facilitate volunteerism. Another list of volunteer centers and other volunteer coordination centers can be found by visiting the following ADRC link: Volunteer Opportunities
- Volunteer programs specifically for older adults are also available. The AmeriCorp Seniors program offers a number of opportunities at varying levels of commitment, from just a few hours a week to a full-time position. For example, the Foster Grandparent Program connects older volunteers to young people, while the RSVP program pairs older Americans with the community organizations that could best use their skills and experience.
- The Office of Community Resources, Education & Wellness within the Division of Aging Services also offers a number of specific volunteer opportunities. The State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP), which provides free help to New Jersey Medicare beneficiaries who have problems with or questions about their health insurance, is staffed partially by volunteer counsellors. For more information on how to volunteer, call 609-438-4795. To join the Senior Medicare Patrol of New Jersey and help prevent Medicare and Medicaid fraud, abuse, and waste, call 732-777-1940, ext. 1117.
- Finally, the Office of the Long-Term Care Ombudsman, which advocates for people living in long-term care facilities by investigating and resolving complaints made by them or by others on their behalf, uses its Volunteer Advocate Program as a first step in investigating residents’ problems. To learn more about the program, call 609-826-5053 or email email@example.com.
The New Jersey Division on Aging Services has compiled information on certain wellness issues for the purpose of furthering public understanding of these issues and their treatment. For more information on these issues, follow the links below:
Mental health and addiction services
Mental health and addiction services in New Jersey are overseen by the Division of Mental Health and Addiction Services. For mental health information and referrals, call the department's toll-free hotline at 1-800-382-6717. For more personalized information that can help you connect to the services you may need, call the free and confidential NJ Mental Health Cares helpline at 1-866-202-4357. If you or someone you love is suffering from a substance abuse disorder, call the 24/7 ReachNJ hotline at 1-844-732-2465 to help get connected with a local treatment provider.
Health and wellness for people with disabilities
The Division of Disability Services undertakes a number of projects addressing the health and wellness of people with disabilities, including those that aim to prevent violence and abuse against women with disabilities and the New Jersey Healthy Communities Network Community Grants program. Learn more information about these programs and others from the division's website or the ADRC resource page on health and wellness for people with disabilities and chronic illnesses.
Hearing aid and vision care assistances
Assistance obtaining a hearing aid or vision care is also available to eligible New Jerseyans.
- The Hearing Aid Assistance for the Aged and Disabled (HAAAD) provides a $500 reimbursement for the purchase of a hearing aid; to find out if you are eligible, complete the NJSave Application to enroll in HAAAD and other programs. The Division of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (DDHH) maintains up-to-date resources on hearing loss and provides services such as communication access referrals and equipment distribution programs. To learn more about how the division can help you, go to their website or call 1-800-792-8339.
- The Project Best program offers free vision screenings to historically underserved sectors of the population, including older adults. To schedule a screening under Project Best, contact the Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired at 1-973-648-7400 or toll free at 1-877-685-8878. CBVI provides education, employment, independent living, and eye health services to individuals who are blind or visually impaired, their families, caregivers, and the community. To learn more about or apply for CBVI's services, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, visit their website, call 1-877-685-8878, or contact a regional service office.