by Karin Haugrud, Dancing Sky Area Agency on Aging

Every May, the Administration for Community Living leads our nation’s observance of Older Americans Month. The 2019 theme, Connect, Create, Contribute, encourages older adults and their communities to: Connect with friends, family, and services that support participation. Create by engaging in activities that promote learning, health, and personal enrichment. Contribute time, talent, and life experience to benefit others.

Communities that encourage the contributions of older adults are stronger! By engaging and supporting all community members, we recognize that older adults play a key role in the vitality of our neighborhoods, networks, and lives.

Each year the Land of the Dancing Sky Area Agency on Aging looks forward to recognizing our older Americans by providing them with creative programs that are not only educational but fun. Here are a few classes you need to know about.

Many older adults experience a fear of falling. People who develop this fear often limit their activities, which can result in physical weakness, making the risk of falling even greater.

Matter of Balance is a program designed to reduce the fear of falling and increase activity levels among older adults.  This class includes eight two-hour sessions for a small group led by a trained facilitator. 

The Chronic Disease Self -Management Program is a workshop given two  and a half hours, once a week, for six weeks, in community settings such as senior centers, churches, libraries and hospitals. People with different chronic health problems attend together. Workshops are facilitated by two trained leaders, one or both of whom are non-health professionals with chronic diseases themselves.

Powerful Tools for Caregivers consists of six weekly classes where caregivers develop a wealth of self-care tools to: reduce personal stress; change negative self-talk; communicate their needs to family members and healthcare or service providers; communicate more effectively in challenging situations; recognize the messages in their emotions, deal with difficult feelings; and make tough caregiving decisions. Class participants also receive a copy of The Caregiver Helpbook, developed specifically for the class.

Tai Ji Quan: Moving for BetterBalance (TJQMBB) is a research-based balance training regimen designed for older adults and people with balance disorders. TJQMBB represents a substantive enhancement of traditional Tai Ji Quan training and performance as it transforms martial arts movements into a therapeutic regimen aimed at improving postural stability, awareness and mindful control of body positioning in space, functional walking, movement symmetry and coordination, range of motion around the ankle and hip joints, and lower-extremity muscle strength.  Call the Senior LinkAge in for more information on these classes.