Living Longer, Living Better!

4 May 2017


May is Older Americans Month, a month-long celebration and advocacy campaign sponsored by the Association on Aging and the Administration for Community Living to raise awareness about current trends and challenges among aging Americans. The population of Americans age 65 and older has risen 30% in the past ten years and is expected to continue to grow. Thanks to advances in medical care and a widespread emphasis on wellness, adults age 65 can expect to live twenty more years.

As the Association on Aging reports, “more than ever before, older Americans are working longer, trying new things, and engaging in their communities. They’re taking charge, striving for wellness, focusing on independence, and advocating for themselves and others. What it means to age has changed.” In fact, the percentage of older adults participating in regular physical activity has more than doubled in the past decade to nearly 12%. However, older adults face unique challenges which can impact their quality of life. Approximately 29% live alone, contributing to loneliness and feelings of isolation, and many live on a fixed income of Social Security benefits or pensions. In addition, most older adults have at least one chronic health condition such as arthritis, heart disease, cancer, diabetes, or hypertension, making physical activity critical to disease management and long-term health.

At the Y, we offer many ways to encourage older adults to be physically active and socially engaged later in life. From Active Older Adult programs, featuring time for fellowship and service, to specialized classes like Chair Yoga, Water Arthritis, and Zumba Gold, the Y meets the needs of our older adult members. For Taylor Bend Family YMCA member Beve, the Y helps her maintain an active, healthy lifestyle and provides a place for her to enjoy community with her friends. A vibrant and active 83-year-old, Beve enjoys participating in many of the Y’s group exercise classes designed especially for active older adults. You can often see Beve in the low-impact Chair Exercise class to improve her strength, flexibility and balance, or dancing in the Y’s Line Dancing or Zumba classes. Like many older adults, Beve lives on a fixed income and must carefully manage her budget. Through the Open Doors program, Beve joined the Y at a monthly rate she could afford. Check out Beve's story, as told by her!

Approximately 23% of the Y’s more than 17,000 members over the age of 55 receive financial assistance through Open Doors, a program made possible through the generous support of our community.

To help older adult members like Beve join the Y, please consider making a tax-deductible donation online today.

Join us on Wednesday, May 31 from 9am-noon as we celebrate Active Older Adults Day—a day dedicated to the health and wellness of our older adult community!  Check out the details!