A diverse group of health professionals, including physicians, podiatric residents, physical and occupational therapists, nutritionists, home health providers, and exercise instructors, shared inspiring activities and important health information with older adults as part of Active Aging Week, September 21-27, 2014.
This year, for the first time, a variety of local organizations, coordinated by the Winter Park Health Foundation in collaboration with the Senior Resource Alliance, united to organize and promote a broad menu of free activities in Winter Park, Maitland and Eatonville. Here is a sampling:Led by the International Council on Active Aging, Active Aging Week is an annual health event promoting the benefits of leading an active, healthy lifestyle via activities held throughout the U.S. and Canada.
- There were many opportunities for local older adults to participate in exercise classes designed specifically to prevent falls, improve flexibility and increase bone density.
- Creativity was also a focus. The Mayflower’s Art for the Generations event featured paintings, 3-D mixed media, and photographs submitted by artists age 55 and over. Approximately two-thirds of the 50 older adults who submitted their creative works for the juried art show were not Mayflower residents. In addition, budding artists learned pottery glazing techniques as a way to unleash their inner creativity as part of a hands-on event hosted by the First Congregational Church of Winter Park.
- Intergenerational activities were celebrated in two different events. The Cyber Seniors film, a documentary that follows the efforts of enterprising teenagers to get a technology-averse older generation to sign on, log in and start friending, was well received by those attending the screening. Media center and student government representatives from the Winter Park Ninth Grade Center, the host site for the screening, are committed to replicating this program locally and WPHF is in conversation with them to finalize logistics. Gardening and CATCH Healthy Habits were also on display at the Crosby YMCA.
- Finally, groups of walkers frequented familiar haunts and ventured into new locales such as Winter Park Towers, where individuals who had never before visited the property had a chance to experience the campus. Another group learned about pedestrian safety at the Maitland Public Library. Alvin Campbell, Eatonville resident and avid walker, was the Fit Bit winner and put the activity tracker to work immediately!
“We have a lot to learn from this first experience of celebrating Active Aging Week as a community,” said Diana Silvey, WPHF Program Director, Older Adults. “Some events drew more participants than others and we will be obtaining feedback from community partners to determine what worked and what can be improved for next year. We are most grateful to the many organizations that collaborated with us to celebrate active aging.”