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Never Too Old to Play


Never Too Old to Play

     Recognize older Kansans this month during Older Americans Month. May is a celebration of the important role older men and women play in our society each day. Thank the volunteers in your church and organizations who are older Americans. They are a tremendous asset to the growth and well-being of our communities and families.

    Kansashas 13.2% of  the population age 65 and over according to the 2010 Census. The four counties of the River Valley District have an average 22.75% of the population age 65 and over. Republic has the highest percentage of Kansans age 65 and over with 27%, compared to 23.2% inWashingtonand 20.4% of the population in Clay andCloudCounty. Close to one-fourth of the population in the District are men and women age 65 and over. The national percentage of men and women age 65 and over is 13% throughout theUnited States.

     “Never Too Old to Play” is the theme of Older Americans Month. This is a time to encourage everyone, regardless of age, to live life to the fullest. Older Americans are to stay engaged, active and involved in their own lives and in their communities. Be active physically and mentally with new challenges. It is a time to consider changing your routine.

Try some of these suggestions:

     Play an instrument. Learning to play a musical instrument helps improve memory, hand-eye coordination, awareness, and concentration.

     Take up the arts by visiting a museum or art gallery. Arts education improves health in many ways. It encourages cognitive development, increases creativity, and improves self-esteem. Learn to paint. You can exercise your creativity this Older Americans Month.

    Volunteer within your community.  Many older Americans are looking for ways to make a positive impact.  

    Engage in conversation and laughter with friends, relatives, and acquaintances of all ages.   Check out the fellowship at the Friendship Meal site near you while eating a nutritious noon meal served weekdays. The meals are low cost and a great way to meet people.

     Listen to music and even dance or sway to the beat. Dancing and music reduces stress, increases levels of serotonin in the brain and provides an overall sense of well being. Dancing is a low impact exercise that offers a safe and fun way to stay fit. It can build brainpower as it forces a person to memorize steps and routines.

     Be active physically. Try a new exercise or refresh your skills with an older exercise. When was the last time that you used a hula hoop?  It’s not as easy as it was when you were a nine-year-old kid.  A person may not be as flexible and have more flesh to  keep it going around your hips. Try another exercise that you’ve not done for a while.     A skydiving adventure may not be your forte, but challenge yourself to try a different exercise such as zumba or tai chi.

            There is a fountain of youth available by staying active. Challenge yourself to try a new activity today.


K-State Research & Extension is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

About Jeff Ottens