Did you know that Chaffee County has almost double the state rate of adults older than age 65? People love to come here to retire and enjoy all our amenities.

The good news is that many of us are motivated to stay healthy and active. The bad news is that there is no assisted living facility to move to if we need extra support.

Just a few months ago Chaffee County commissioners voted to join The AARP Network of Age-Friendly States and Communities, which provides resources to become more age-friendly. This is a big deal, as our county is now committed to organizing and prioritizing our work to become more livable for both older residents and people of all ages.

Special focus will be given to the eight domains of livability, developed by the World Health Organization, which impact the wellbeing of older adults: the built environment, transportation, housing, social participation, respect and social inclusion, civic participation and employment, communication, and community support and health services. These physical and social factors are key determinants of whether people can remain healthy, independent and autonomous long into their old age.

A local group of citizens have been working to ensure that we all have the information, resources and support we need to maintain a high quality of life as we age. This group has identified a few key areas that are essential to meet this goal:

• Exercising your brain and body.

• Developing healthy eating habits.

• Connecting socially.

• Maintaining positive emotional health.

These areas will be the focus of the upcoming Embracing Aging events taking place next month as we celebrate Healthy Aging Month.

Join us at these locations for learning, participating and engaging with your neighbors. You will get a gift bag with useful items provided by sponsors of the fairs.

Activities include:

Fun fitness classes – The Fs of Fitness, Tai Chi, Bones for Life.

Learning – Awakening Joy, Healthy Brains, Resilience, Diabetes education.

Art – rock painting, print making.

Health – Oral health exams, heart health, blood pressure checks, balance assessments.

Check out the website embracingagingchaffee.com to see details and to register. All events are free and open to the public. (Safely, these are vaccinated-only events with masks required at inside activities.)

The website will be active all year offering local resources that support the aging process in our county and provide links to vetted programs on Aging Strong.

Embracing Aging Mini Fairs in September are from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. each day. Lunch will be provided.

Sept. 14 – Mount Shavano Manor, 525 W. 16th St., Salida.

 Sept. 16 – Heart of the Rockies Regional Medical Center, Outside Pavilion for Tai Chi and Wellness Kitchen for Cooking Class. Preregistration required.

Sept. 21 – Sunrise Manor, 301 Alsina St., Buena Vista.

Sept. 23 – Heart of the Rockies Regional Medical Center, Tai Chi & Cooking Class. Preregistration  required.

Sept. 29 – Buena Vista Community Center, 715 E. Main St.

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