Montgomery County will host its third annual Active Aging Week starting Monday, Oct. 1, as part of an international initiative to promote healthy lifestyles for people over the age of 50.
The initiative, launched in 2003 by the International Council on Active Aging, seeks to provide a safe and supportive environment for seniors to participate in health and wellness activities. Active Aging Week also gives older adults an opportunity to celebrate the aging process and demonstrate their ability to live full lives in a society that often pushes its elders to the margins.
According to a press release, Montgomery County’s Active Aging Week events will include a mixture of in-person and virtual programs designed to get seniors up and moving, from Zoom exercise classes to nature walks. Other events, such as technology tutorials and remote book discussions, aim to teach county residents over 50 how to navigate the increasingly digital world and promote the development of meaningful relationships even if they can’t leave home.
“Active aging is about being engaged physically, socially, intellectually and spiritually,” said Robin Riley, director of Montgomery County Recreation and co-chair of Age-Friendly Montgomery, in the press release. “Trying new things and engaging in community activities can keep us healthy and happy throughout our lives. Montgomery County strives to be a fun community that makes staying active easy.”
The week’s events are co-sponsored by various Montgomery County government agencies and departments, including Montgomery County Public Libraries and Montgomery County Recreation. Events will also be hosted by local nonprofit organizations and hospitals such as Adventist HealthCare.
The “Go, Grow & Get Active” signature event, hosted by Montgomery Parks at Brookside Gardens, will focus on fitness, with programs such as Zumba Toning, Laughter Yoga, and Tai Chi. It will be held virtually on Wed., October 7, from 9:30-11:30 a.m., and can be viewed on County Cable Montgomery. Because it coincides with “Walk Maryland Day!”, physicians from “Walk with a Doc” will be in attendance to provide health tips and encourage Montgomery County’s seniors to participate in the fun.
This year’s Active Aging Week comes as a saving grace for many seniors. According to the CDC, the risk of severe illness from COVID-19 increases with age. As a result, many older adults have been forced to isolate themselves from friends and family out of concern for their health. Those in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities have had the additional challenge of maintaining a social distance from others while living in close quarters.
“The people that I work with say [the seniors] are very excited that we were able to pull together such a wide range of programs as we did because they can’t get out,” says Tina Langley, senior health and wellness coordinator for the Area Agency on Aging. “We’re trying to put this information out as much as possible so everyone can take advantage of it.”
A full schedule of Montgomery County’s free Active Aging Week events can be found on the County’s senior calendar.