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In honor of National Disability Independence Month,, read this informative article about celebrating independence. Learn how to contact the Nevada Care Connection Resource Center. A new series of virtual Bingocize classes will be starting soon! There are also resources for senior nutrition programs throughout the state.

Celebrating Independence

by Ellen Grossman

National Disability Independence Month celebrates the anniversary of the Americans with Disability Act (ADA), signed into law on July 26, 1990 by President George Bush.  Not all older adults have disabilities, but it can be a struggle to maintain independence and battle against ableism.  

Celebrating Independence

Handicapped placard with health icons

The truth is, we all want to be independent. We may move a little different, take the stairs a little slower, prefer a table to sitting in a booth, or engage in sports or concert events sitting in an accessible section of a stadium or theater. Canes, walkers or wheelchairs may not always signify those needing assistance. It’s sometimes hard to discourage the eager good citizen who runs to open the door for you and waits until you get to the door. But it may make you feel uncomfortable. You may be capable of opening a door yourself and now you are awkwardly rushing to the door, so they are not standing and waiting on you. Thank them and let them know that you need to do as much as you can by yourself to remain independent. 

Here are some simple tips and suggestions we can all use as we rethink our independence and that of those around us:

Basic disability etiquette. Ask before you help. Many people want to do as much as they can independently. It’s true—if you don’t use it, you will lose it.  

Refrain from grabbing someone’s arm. Doing so can inadvertently throw them off balance. Be aware of personal space including touching someone’s equipment or device.

Profusely apologizing after an awkward statement can sometimes be more offensive than the original statement. Older adults and adults with disabilities want to be treated like everyone else.   

Restrain from making assumptions. Most individuals with a disability know their limitations. Allow them to make their own decisions about participation.

Use people-first language: A person living with a disability, instead of a disabled person. 

Use the phrase older adult instead of senior citizen. 

Try not to portray older people or individuals with disabilities as overly courageous or brave.  It implies that it is unusual for older adults or people with disabilities to have talents or skills.  

When socializing, focus on activities that you and others in your group can do together. Suggest meeting a little earlier so that friends who need more time or may walk at a slower pace have enough time to get to the venue or their seats. Think about restaurant choices when going out with someone who lives with hearing or vision loss. Everyone wants to be part of the conversation and a noisy eatery with low lighting may not be the best choice for everyone. Consider dietary restrictions or eating time convenience when dining out. Assistance reading small print on labels, menus and in reading material may not be needed or may be welcomed depending on the situation. Ask first—offering to help is different from assuming a need to help. 

The World Health Organization's active aging and disability framework recognizes that these barriers need to be removed to increase potential for active aging. Consider examining your own ageist and disability stereotypes. According to National Public Radio correspondent, Ina Jaffe, “The clichés about aging and disability don't relate to the way many people over 65 are living their lives these days. They're working. They're traveling. They're volunteering.” Age and disability do not mean you cannot contribute your knowledge to family, friends or community. Ask for assistance when you need it to remain healthy and independent and politely decline it when you are fine and able to do on your own. Maintaining your independence is a lifelong goal and looks differently at different ages.   


A new series of virtual classes will be starting soon! 

Bingocize® logo

Bingocize is a 10-week, evidence-based older adult health promotion program combining exercise and health
information with the familiar game of bingo. It is a great way to get up, moving and socializing.

 Please contact Kayla Ransom for virtual class information.

The Bingocize® Nutrition Workshops are written and developed by University of Nevada, Reno Extension in partnership with the Western Kentucky University Research Foundation.

Sign up for an in-person class or become a certified volunteer instructor!

The Senior Farmers' Market Nutrition Program 

The Senior Farmers' Market Nutrition Program provides low income seniors with coupons that can be exchanged for eligible foods at participating Nevada farmers' markets and roadside farm stands. The purpose of this program is to increase the consumption, production and distribution of fresh, locally grown fruits and vegetables and to supplement the nutritional needs for Nevada seniors. Seniors must meet income criteria established by the federal government. This is a seasonal program in Nevada. Sign-ups and coupons are on a first-come basis. 

Multiple clip art vegetables

Multiple vegetables clip art


Nutrition Services Incentive Program

Nutrition label with produce

This program provides food or funding for food sourced in the USA to senior centers and older adult organizations that offer meals funded by The Older American Act Title IIIC. Organizations are offered an incentive to serve more meals and receive cash, commodities, or a combination of both to supplement their congregate and/or home­delivered meals programs. The program is funded through the Older American Act. Senior's spouses, adults with disabilities living with a senior, and volunteers younger than 60 may be served meals. 

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance
Program (SNAP)

SNAP, formerly the Food Stamp Program, provides food benefits to low-income families to supplement their grocery budget so they can afford the nutritious food essential to health and well-being. 

SNAP program logo

SNAP logo

Special SNAP rules exist for households with older adults or adults with disabilities. In SNAP, you are an older adult if you are 60 years or older. 

The Senior Nutrition and Wellness

Mindful eating image

The Senior Nutrition and Wellness program, previously the Commodity Supplemental Food Program as it is referred to by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, offers monthly food packages for adults 60 and above years of age and incomes at or below 130% of poverty levels to improve the health by supplementing their diets with nutritious USDA Foods. 

Golden Groceries 

Golden Groceries can be found at various locations across Nevada.

 To find a location near you if you live in Northern Nevada, please visit Food Bank of Northern Nevada (FBNN).

Golden Groceries logo

Golden Groceries logo

To find a location near you if you live in southern Nevada, please visit Three Square Food Bank.

Home-Delivered Meals

Home-delivered meals are offered throughout Nevada by numerous service organizations.

Meals on Wheels Catholic Charities

You can contact Catholic Charities in Clark County and your local senior center or county/city administration office to find a service near you.

Nevada requirements include being over 60 years old, homebound due to illness, physically or cognitively impaired or geographically isolated.

Grossman, E. 2024, Healthy LIVING while aging! (2024-07), Extension | University of Nevada, Reno, Newsletter

Learn more about the author(s)


Also of Interest:

Preventing Falls in Your Home
This fact sheet contains extensive information on ways to prevent the risk of falling in one's home.
Collins, C. and Petermeier, H. 2007, Extension | University of Nevada, Reno, FS-07-24
Annie Lindsay and her mom, Shirley, paddle boating at Lake Las Vegas
Summer Safety for Older Adults
This fact sheet contains information on summer safety for older adults to help them stay healthy and active. Learn more about different activities an older adult can do to live longer and prevent danger to one's health.
Collins, C., Mazzullo, N. and Petermeier, H. 2011, Extension | University of Nevada, Reno, FS-11-04
Older man and women biking on a snowy road wearing neon yellow jackets
Winter Safety for Older Adults
This fact sheet contains information on ways older adults can stay healthy and active during the winter. Learn about the illness and accidents an older adult can fact if they are not healthy and ways to prevent it.
Collins, C. and Petermeier, H. 2001, Extension | University of Nevada, Reno, FS-11-02
parnd parent writing
Creating an Autobiography: A Family Keepsake
This fact sheet contains information on ways older adults can begin to write their autobiography or life stories.
Collins, C., Petermeier, H. 2009, Extension | University of Nevada, Reno, FS 09-03
writing autobiography
Creating an Autobiography: Starting the Process
This fact sheet contains information on ways older adults can begin to write their autobiography or life stories.
Collins, C., Petermeier, H. 2009, Extension | University of Nevada, Reno, FS 09-02

Associated Programs

Two adults hike along a walking trail

Healthy Aging Initiative

Using Extension's expertise, the HAI team can connect you with the resources to navigate aging and its trends. HAI programs are offered for older adults and those who partner with them to provide care and support, including careers in aging exploration for middle and high school students and incoming college freshmen. We provide expert nutrition and physical activity training information for elders, caregivers and professionals. We have sponsorship options for tours and professional education.