Spring: it's almost officially here!
We have been so blessed this year with one of the mildest winters I can ever remember. Instead of hibernating for four or five months, we have all been much more active this winter and that is very good for our minds and spirits as well as bodies. Seniors' groups have been busy planning events and starting new programs instead of staying home or flying south. (Although, now that I think about it, that may be because no one has any money to go south!)
As you know, the Office for the Aging does not slow down even during the winter months. OFA has been busy with health insurance counseling for new seniors just turning 65 and it seems that more are walking through our doors every day. We can tell that the Boomers are officially becoming "Silver Citizens." I am hoping you like this new title since no one seems to like to be called "senior" or older American or the many other names for people 65-plus. I also think we should start referring to people 85-plus as "Golden Citizens" and they truly are. I have never met a person over the age of 85 that I didn't like. They have a lot of wisdom to share, are bold and upfront with their feelings and observations about life, and do not hesitate to tell you what is right and wrong with the world. What you see is what you get and I love them all. Luckily, they are the fastest growing group on the planet so maybe there is hope for turning some of the craziness in our world around.
It also seems that we have more people than ever joining the 100-plus group. Recently, I was invited to the most amazing tribute to Rose Worden, 102 years young, at the Chautauqua Adult Day Center in Jamestown. We celebrated her birthday with a party and a play put on by children from the Boys and Girls Club in Dunkirk in collaboration with Hospice. The play highlighted all the major events in Rose's life from when she emigrated from Italy and settled in Jamestown to raise her family to present day surrounded by her garden. I could not help getting teary as her story so mirrored my own grandmother's life. The party was beautiful with many thoughtful touches from the cake decorated like her garden, to the spaghetti and meatballs prepared by Joseph Conti, Mary Ann Carlo and B.J. Worden, the roses presented by the children, and Rose Worden in the middle surrounded by her children, family, and friends. Kudos to everyone who helped to honor this very special lady. I hope we can do something similar for all our centenarians. They are more than Platinum Citizens; they are in a class of their own and we need to cherish every day that they are with us on this earth.
The United Senior Council (which represents all senior groups/clubs in the county), together with Emeritus of Lakewood, is sponsoring a Senior Wellness Day on April 18 from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Office for the Aging will be assisting to organize vendors for this event. Call Mary Fusco, health education coordinator at Office for the Aging, at 753-4471, 363-4471 or 661-7471 if you would like to have a table. The cost for a table is $5 and includes free lunch for all the attendees. USC is especially looking for vendors who will do health screenings for seniors like blood pressure, falls risk, heel scan, posture etc. Space is limited, so call OFA or Theresa Perrin at 665-2414 to reserve your spot today!
April 16 is National Health Care Decision Day. Chautauqua County Health Network (CCHN) is leading a countywide effort to highlight the importance of advance healthcare decision-making. People of all ages, not just seniors, need to see the importance of designating someone to speak for you in health care situations if you are injured or become ill and cannot speak for yourself. We are very fortunate to have an innovative solution, the Health Care Proxy Registry, that was developed by CCHN to give immediate access to medical professions to your proxy so they can contact your designee. The registry is on a secure server accessible to county doctors, hospitals and EMS who can access your health care proxy in an emergency situation and call your proxy sometimes while you are being transported to the hospital. We hope you will join us for the events surrounding National Health Care Decision Day or stop by their table at the Senior Wellness Event.
May is Older Americans Month and United Senior Council is sponsoring a Senior Trivia Day on May 10 at 1 p.m. to celebrate at Stow-North Harmony Senior Center. To participate, seniors must be 60 years of age or older and be part of a team consisting of two or three members. We encourage all senior clubs to send a team to this event which should be filled with fun and laughter. Entry fee is $5 per team which will be used to award prizes to the top three teams of $100, $75 and $50.
Light refreshments offered at no charge. Contact Connie Whitman, president, at 763-0544 for further information or to register. Must register by April 30.
Our OFA Senior Picnic is officially Friday, Aug. 10, at Midway Park. More details to follow as we get closer to the event.
The nice weather has also spurred many calls to OFA from people looking for an exercise program. OFA has several evidenced-based programs including Healthy Bones, Tai Chi and coming soon, Otago, that we can assist seniors and pre-seniors to start in their town or village. All of these programs help to prevent falls and/or improve bone strength, balance and flexibility. There are also existing exercise groups currently running in Jamestown, Findley Lake, Sinclairville, Fredonia and Dunkirk that you can join. Call NY Connects for details.
If you are looking for information and services available to you, remember to contact NY Connects in Office for the Aging at 661-7582 from the Jamestown area, 363-4582 from the Dunkirk area and 753-4582 from the Mayville area.