SENIOR SPOTLIGHT: 'Aging Mastery' returning to The Dale

Maureen Wendt

Interested in feeling better today and staying healthy for the future? Today, we are living longer, so it is good to be thinking about ways to make the most of longevity. Quality of life is now an increasing consideration for adults.

In 1950, the average American who was 65 could expect to live another 14 years in retirement, with roughly half of that time in good health. Today, once people reach age 65, they can expect to live another 19 years with roughly 66% of that time in good health. And, a majority of older adults wish to remain in their own homes and communities throughout their aging years.

The Dale Association, in partnership with National Council on Aging, New York State Office for Aging, Niagara County Office for Aging and SUNY Albany's Center for Excellence in Aging and Community Wellness, offers the Aging Mastery program. It is an opportunity for you to discover new pathways that encourage your ongoing and positive engagement in life.

Aging Mastery is an incentive-based program designed to inform, encourage and support aging adults as they take steps to improve their lives and stay engaged in their communities. It is about feeling better today and staying healthy for the future.

First piloted nationally, Aging Mastery aims to empower adults to make and maintain small, effective changes in their behaviors to live a healthier, happier and more secure life. Small steps can make a big difference in your health and well-being, and even modest improvements can make life fun and meaningful.

The topics included in Aging Master address the areas that are of increased consideration for older adults and their quality of life, such as: material well-being, that is, ability (often financial) to meet needs for basics such as food and shelter; physical well-being, that is, the ability to perform basic activities and to live independently; social engagement, meaning involvement with and support received from family, peers, community members and community organizations; and emotional well-being, that is, mental and psychological wellness often tied to physical health and social support. Each of these areas is critical to quality of life.

The topics are:

— Navigating longer life, with a special emphasis on the new realities of aging and making the most of the gift of longevity.

— An overview of how sleep patterns change as we age and simple strategies to improve sleep.

— Nutrition as it relates to aging, with a focus on strategies to incorporating healthy eating and hydration into daily routines.

— How to take medications as directed, how to store medications safely, and how to keep track of multiple medications.

— An overview of the importance of falls prevention among older adults and strategies to prevent falling.

— The benefits of being socially active, as well as an exploration of the risks of isolation. The focus is on continuing to build and strengthen healthy relationships and family connections as we age.

— The value of identifying meaningful volunteer and community engagement opportunities.

— The importance of aerobics, strengthening, flexibility, and balance as they relate to aging, with a focus on strategies for incorporating physical activity into daily routines.

— Strategies for remaining economically secure in an era of longevity.

— Guidance around key steps needed to manage health care, financial, and housing/care decisions.

Participants set individual goals and a key element of the Aging Mastery program is the reward system, designed to both motivate and encourage ongoing participation. Incentives help turn learning into doing. They are tied directly to the action steps in each class. Participants earn points for each action step they accomplish. At the end of the 10-week session, participants receive rewards based on the number of total points they achieved.

A graduation ceremony is organized at the conclusion of the 10-week program.

 

Aging Mastery is a free program and will be offered from 10 to 11:30 a.m. Wednesdays beginning Feb. 12 at The Dale Association, 33 Ontario St., Lockport. Advance reservations are needed; please call 433-1886, send an email to gretchen.doty@daleassociation.com or stop in at the center by Feb. 5.

We hope to recruit a wide range of participants. The class is appropriate for adults of all ages from 50 to 100.

Maureen A. Wendt is president and CEO of The Dale Association, a non-profit organization that provides senior, mental health, in-home care, caregiver support services and enrichment activities for adults. For more information, call 433-1937 or visit www.daleassociation.com .

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