Cheryl Beversdorf, a registered nurse and Vietnam-era Veteran moved on
from a nursing career to focus on promoting wellness. She earned a master's degree in public health and worked in policy management representing podiatric surgeons, state health officials, and community organizations serving homeless Veterans. Soon she realized her love of people outreach and earned a second master in communications. In January 2016, she began volunteering at Arlington Independent Media as a producer and host of a weekly radio program called Aging Matters, to educate listeners about aging-related topics. By September 2018, Cheryl had also started producing monthly television programs featuring interviews with aging experts.
Video Chapters from the Conversation(Click)
- Cheryl Beversdorf : An Introduction
- Critical Issues for Older Adults
- Aging: A Changing Reality
- Taking Care of Yourself
- Aging Matters: Interesting Topics Covered
- Future Plans
Why Aging Matters?
Cheryl emphasizes the importance of focusing on health and wellness issues as we age. Most of us are unaware and underprepared about what is coming. Some of the topics being explored are -
- Health & Wellness
One of the key aspects of Health is dementia, a topic featured on several Aging
Matters programs. The number of people living with dementia is on the
rise worldwide. Yet very few people are aware of how to identify early
signs of this condition, how to manage the onset, and how to classify
different types. Another aging-related health topic is Fall Prevention which includes attention to balance and coordination and how to identify fall-prone areas inside or outside the home.
Navigating the complex healthcare system is another challenge due to the layered medical practitioners, specialists, and various healthcare providers. Cheryl emphasizes the need for resources, relevant to both older adults and their adult children witnessing changes in their parents. Geographic variations and language barriers further impede access to these kinds of resources.
Who should I call when primary care physicians are not in the position to be able to guide ?
Another significant aging area is Caregiving. Do you have a family
member who will care for you if you get sick? Would you need to hire
someone for yourself? Who in your family should be designated as the
person in charge of making those healthcare decisions?
A critical concern older adults must face as they age is Financial
Planning. What happens if you pass away suddenly? Who will take over
the estate? Have you prepared a will? What other advanced directives
are needed? Who is managing your financials in a situation where you
might suffer cognitive decline?
Aging Matters also addresses the psychological aspects of aging. Some older adults struggle to accept the changes that may impact their independence, including the need to stop driving and the loss of sensory capabilities. Although many people may plan to age independently, progressive decline in physical and mental abilities may hinder their plans.
It is difficult because you don't quite know what to expect. None of us have ever been old before!
New rising trends such as increased life expectancy, rising homelessness, and older adults staying in the workforce longer are being witnessed. While our parents were living in their 70s, today most older adults will reach their 80s and some even in their 100s—the profound shift in demographics necessitating new community services.
Additionally, the alarming trend of homelessness among older adults, driven by financial insecurity, also poses a significant societal challenge. Cheryl calls for urgent public intervention and increased empathy from homeowners to understand & realize the changing social dynamics.
Cheryl also highlights the dual dynamics of prolonged workforce participation by older adults and increasing ageism concerns. While acknowledging the need for employers to facilitate continued employment, she underscores the importance of combating ageism and dispelling stereotypes.
On a personal note, Cheryl shares her routine that focuses on daily exercise, a balanced diet, socialization, and involvement in various activities. She emphasizes the importance of having a purpose that keeps her socially engaged. With a health and prevention focus, she dedicates an hour daily to treadmill exercises while enjoying foreign movies with subtitles. Her strong social inclination involves travel, event participation, and active engagement in aging-related initiatives. Her affiliation with the church also contributes to her spiritual well-being.
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Curious Topics in Aging Matters
Aging Matters has covered several interesting topics. One of them is healthy home design, where architects collaborate with older adults for user-friendly spaces using universal design principles. She has also explored the significance of technology devices and assistive technology in keeping older adults connected and fit, showcasing advancements in durable medical equipment.
Cheryl also puts the spotlight on controversial topics such as medical aid in dying and medical marijuana in healing, acknowledging the need for an evolving legal and ethical landscape surrounding these issues. She anticipates the participation of states in navigating these complexities, considering both healthcare community perspectives and individual rights.
Cheryl expresses a transition phase for Aging Matters, aiming to expand its reach beyond podcasts and local radio. She envisions collaboration with health organizations, and more local communities to spread awareness.
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