SENIOR SPOTLIGHT: Back at the Dale: Aging Mastery

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 engage in ongoing and positive 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 participate in a program that provides new pathways that encourage your ongoing and positive engagement in life. It 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.

Aging Mastery is about feeling better today and staying healthy for the future.

First piloted nationally, the 10-week Aging Mastery Program aims to empower adults to make and maintain small, effective changes to 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.

Aging Mastery addresses subjects that are of an increased consideration for older adults and their quality of life, such as:

— Material well-being, that is, the ability (often financial) to meet needs for basics such as food and shelter;

— Physical well-being, i.e., the ability to perform basic activities and to live independently;

— Social engagement, i.e., involvement with and support received from family, peers, community members and community organizations;

— Emotional well-being, i.e.., mental and psychological wellness often tied to physical health and social support.

The topics that participants can expect to be covered are:

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

— 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, store them safely and keep track of multiple medications;

— Falls prevention among older adults and strategies to prevent falling;

— The benefits of being socially active, as well as the risks of isolation, with a focus 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, 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 program is the reward system, designed to both motivate and encourage ongoing participation. Incentives help turn learning into doing. The incentives 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 for participants will take place, as well.

Aging Mastery is a free program that's appropriate for adults of all ages from 50 to 100. The program will be offered beginning June 19; classes are from 10 to 11:30 a.m. at The Dale Association, 33 Ontario St., Lockport. Advance reservations are needed; call 433-1886, email or stop by the center by June 5.




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 .