Steps to Healthy Aging

VOA logo 2014 flush left_tagMy name is Mallory and I am a dietetic intern working with the Healthy Aging Department at Volunteers of America. I worked with Volunteers of America this fall for five weeks, and now I am back again for four more weeks. Working with Volunteers of America has been a very rewarding and unique experience. I have helped with Steps to Healthy Aging and Matter of Balance classes, been a part of nutrition counseling sessions, made handouts and held information sessions for popular nutrition topics, helped with Meals on Wheels, and more. The Steps to Healthy Aging is a class that the Healthy Aging Department offers that combines nutrition and exercise. I enjoyed teaching a few nutrition classes because the participants were so interested and willing to learn new ideas and concepts. Matter of Balance is a class that helps seniors prevent falls through exercise and discussion.

This class is not related to nutrition, but was very eye opening for me to help out with because I never realized how the fear of falling really affected people’s lives. Many of the participants talk about how they do not go certain places because of bad sidewalks or stairs that they would have to climb. One lady mentioned she can’t even go across the street because she can’t make it to the other side before the crosswalk time runs out and she doesn’t want to fall or get hit. It has also been very rewarding to help the dietitian, Molly, counsel clients. There have been a few curve balls thrown in sessions, so it has been very helpful to go along with a professional and see how they would handle certain situations.

It has been great to see the compassion and care that goes in to counseling and also how happy and motivated the clients feel after sessions. There are many nutrition topics that are controversial, so I compiled some information on topics like eggs and popular supplements to make sure people were getting correct and useful information. There are many resources and websites that people use for health information that are not very accurate, so I am finding that it is important to give them correct information or at least make sure they know good places to look. I have briefly gotten to work with Meals on Wheels, which is a program that provides meals for homebound older adults. I have delivered meals to clients, helped prepare meals, and have helped compile Market Baskets. Market Baskets get sent out monthly and get packed with things like fresh fruits and vegetables, milk, and cheese. I like working with Meals on Wheels because of how grateful the clients are, many of them mention they would not eat without this program providing them food. I couldn’t imagine having to go without food for the day because I can’t make my own or go out and buy food, so it makes me feel good that I can help in any way possible. Overall, it has been great being an intern with Volunteers of America. Everyone has been so kind and welcoming and they really make me feel like I am part of their team.

Mallory Silliman

Dietetic intern

Volunteers of America, Colorado Branch