Editor's note: This post is a follow-up to our summer Twitter chat on healthy aging in partnership with Caesars Entertainment. In case you missed it, you can catch a recap here.
By Jan Jones Blackhurst, Caesars Entertainment
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 14 percent of the population is 65 and older. Some fear aging as a time of slowing down and not being able to enjoy life as one once did. However, many embrace it as a time to enjoy hobbies, volunteer and spend time with loved ones. The long-held stereotypes of senior citizens are fading – today’s older adults are just as likely to be running marathons or launching a second career.
At Caesars, many of our guests are seniors, and I’ve seen firsthand that people can and do enjoy this life phase. We’re also very aware of the challenges that may come with aging, from health concerns to tighter budgets.
For example, Alzheimer’s is the sixth leading cause of death in America, taking the lives of more seniors than breast and prostate cancer combined. Seniors may face poverty and all the struggles that accompany it, with 10 percent living under the poverty line and 1 in 6 facing hunger.
While there is no magic bullet to solve such complex problems, there are ways we as a company can make a difference when it comes to healthy aging. Our partners at Second Wind Dreams define aging healthily as “being involved in your community, staying mentally active and having a purpose.”
That’s why Caesars Entertainment is dedicated to helping older adults live independently, maintain optimal health and proper nutrition, avoid social isolation, and enjoy mental and physical vitality through every stage of the aging process. Since healthy aging is so multi-faceted, it’s been important to find multiple nonprofit partners that specialize in aging from different perspectives.
The Caesars Foundation has been instrumental in supporting the organization’s mission by donating 59 vans to facilitate meal delivery. Our employees often volunteer for Meals on Wheels, too, and we support Meals on Wheels America’s groundbreaking research on hunger among older adults. To date, our contributions to Meals on Wheels America and other local hunger nonprofits totals $5 million.
With this funding, the Center built HealthyBrains.org, where seniors can learn about how to improve brain health through lifestyle choices. We partnered with the Clinic to train employee ambassadors – dubbed Smart HEROs – to spread the word about Healthy Brains to their colleagues and guests, encouraging them to visit HealthyBrains.org. We hope to replicate this employee ambassador program at our properties across the country, helping the Lou Ruvo Center expand its reach and share its important message.
Jan Jones Blackhurst is executive vice president of government relations and corporate social responsibility for Caesars Entertainment.