The new Steamboat Springs Community Center has more space for meals and additional activities for older adults.

Tamera Manzanares/Courtesy

The new Steamboat Springs Community Center has more space for meals and additional activities for older adults.

Aging Well: More room, programs at new Community Center

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Upcoming presenters

Upcoming presenters in the new Speaker Series at the Steamboat Springs Community Center (presentations are at 1 p.m. Mondays, after lunch):

• April 7: "Exercise Your Arthritis," with Jeanne Upbin, VNA fitness instructor.

• April 14: "Local Government News," with Steamboat Springs City Council member Cari Hermacinski.

• April 21: "The Life of a Dowser." Longtime local resident George Tolles will talk about finding water with a dowser stick.

• April 28: "Spellbinders of Aspen." Al Dietsch will share how his Aspen-based group develops and shares stories.

• May 5: "What's New in the Arts," with Marion Kahn, executive director of the Steamboat Springs Arts Council.

• May 12: "Life in Sardinia, Italy," with Marta Bandino, a foreign exchange student at Steamboat Springs High School.

• May 19: "Ranching in the Yampa Valley," with Marsha Daughenbaugh, third-generation rancher and executive director of the Community Agriculture Alliance.

For more information or to sign up for congregate meals, transportation or other programs provided by the Routt County Council on Aging or to receive a program guide, call 879-0633.

For more information or to register for free fitness classes at the Community Center, call the VNA's Aging Well hotline, 871-7676.

For years, older adults in the Steamboat Springs area have appreciated lunch, social time and other programs provided by the Routt County Council on Aging.

The opening of the new Steamboat Springs Community Center guarantees they will continue to enjoy these services in addition to new activities aimed at keeping them healthy and socially engaged.

"We hope to continue increasing programming and having more for them to do because there's more space," said Shelley Orrell, director of the Council on Aging, which has an office in the building.

The Visiting Nurse Association's Aging Well program is collaborating with the Council on Aging to offer free fitness and wellness classes including Tai Chi and Arthritis Foundation Exercise at the center.

The two organizations also have planned a series of guest speakers who will present information on a variety of topics ranging from the local agriculture industry to storytelling.

"This brings a cultural component to programming," said Teresa Wright, Aging Well outreach coordinator for Routt County. "It will appeal to people interested in travel, health, current issues and topics affecting older adults here in Steamboat."

Council on Aging

Established in 1977, the Council on Aging is a private, nonprofit organization dedicated to meeting needs of seniors in Routt County.

In addition to providing congregate meals, Meals on Wheels and transportation, the program offers advocacy services to residents at long-term care facilities.

The new Community Center, with its efficient kitchen, storage areas and spacious, dividable community room, provides the Council on Aging a better venue to host programs, including monthly Foot Care clinics, wellness clinics and VizAbilities, a support group for people with vision and hearing loss.

Social interaction is an important aspect of Council on Aging programs, whose participants tend to be older, more frail adults, Orrell said.

The space offers opportunities for new social-oriented activities including Tuesday afternoon movies (the spring movie theme is "favorite musicals") and game time on Thursday afternoons.

Seniors from throughout Routt County can help the council celebrate its new venue and Older Americans Month at its annual Spring Fling luncheon May 16. Call 879-0633 to RSVP.

Most Council on Aging programs are free, though donations are suggested for lunch and the Foot Care clinic. Reservations are recommended for Foot Care and meals.

Aging Well

In its third year, the VNA's Aging Well program involves healthy aging programs targeting the varying needs of aging Baby Boomers and seniors in Routt and Moffat counties.

Aging Well fitness classes at the new Community Center vary in ability levels and techniques appealing to seniors as well as other community members, said Jeanne Upbin, Aging Well fitness specialist and instructor.

Exercise classes typically are held from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays. These classes include beginning and advanced Arthritis Foundation Fitness, which help improve participants' strength, balance and flexibility and reduce symptoms of stiff or damaged joints.

Techniques in both classes can be modified to fit participants' abilities. The advanced class is for individuals who can move freely, without support, and also want a cardio workout.

Tai Chi classes involve slow, graceful movements designed to relieve arthritic pain and stiffness while encouraging relaxation. The classes appeal to individuals who can move without assistance of a cane or walker.

Participants looking for more of a challenge can look forward to a Tai Chi II class at the Community Center in June.

Older adults coping with pain, depression and other challenges of chronic conditions will benefit from a Healthier Living class beginning June 25.

This six-session workshop helps individuals with a wide range of illnesses better manage their conditions with better communication skills, nutrition, exercise and other approaches. Caregivers and family members also are encouraged to attend.

Upbin and other fitness instructors will present information about Aging Well classes and conduct demonstrations during a presentation at 1 p.m. Monday at the Community Center.

"I would really encourage people to come if they are interested in the classes," Upbin said.

Aging Well classes at the Community Center are free to participants thanks to partnerships with the Council on Aging, which will host most classes during its allotted time there, and the City of Steamboat Springs. Call 871-7676 to register for classes.

Tamera Manzanares can be reached at tammarie74@yahoo.com.

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