SENIOR SPOTLIGHT: Aging Mastery signups due

Maureen Wendt

Older adults are not only driving population growth statewide, they are more diverse than ever before. During the past decade, the number of New Yorkers over age 65 has increased by 26%, far outpacing the broader population, which grew by only 3%. There are now more New Yorkers aged 65 and older than there are children younger than 13.

Niagara County's older adult population is in excess of 18%, well above the state and national averages. The older adult population is booming. More of us are living longer and generally healthier than ever before. As we age, we can continue to grow and develop and remain a vitally important asset to the community.

The Aging Mastery Program, developed by the National Council on Aging, is a 10-week program that enables participants to gain the skills and tools they need to manage their health, and remain economically secure and socially engaged.

It is exciting for me to share that the Aging Mastery Program is being implemented through The Dale Association, in partnership with National Council on Aging, New York State Office for Aging, and Niagara County Office for Aging. It is an incentive based program designed to inform, encourage and support adults aged 50 to 100 as they take steps to improve their lives and stay engaged in their communities. The Aging Mastery Program is about feeling better today and staying healthy for the future.

First piloted nationally, the Aging Mastery Program incorporates evidence-based materials, expert speakers, group discussion and peer support to give participants the skills and tools they need to achieve measurable improvements in managing their health and remaining economically secure. The program aims to empower older adults to make and maintain small, effective changes 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 that participants can expect to be covered include: Navigating longer lives, sleep patterns, nutrition, medications, falls prevention, social activity, volunteer and community engagement opportunities, physical activity, remaining economically secure, and managing health care, financial and housing / care decisions.

A graduation ceremony for participants takes place.

Aging Mastery is a free class (thanks to the generosity of the Office for the Aging) and it will be offered from 10 to 11:30 a.m. Wednesdays beginning June 19  at The Dale Association, 33 Ontario St., Lockport. Advance reservations are needed; to reserve your seat, please call 433-1886, email Jennifer.burt@daleassociation.com, or stop in at the senior center by June 5. We hope to recruit a wide range of participants.

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