Look in the mirror and you will see the face of aging | SteamboatToday.com

Look in the mirror and you will see the face of aging

Living in the Yampa Valley is, for most of us, living well. Whatever your recreational interests, there are opportunities to play. Whatever direction your home faces, there is a spectacular view. Whether you live in Oak Creek or Craig, Steamboat or Hayden, if you have an opinion about a local issue, you can raise your voice and be heard. The people here are amazing. And let’s face it; small town life is just comfortable. Most of us are here because we want to be here.

But have you ever thought about how many of us consider moving out of the Yampa Valley just because we are getting older? If you are under the age of, say, 65, probably not. You’re probably saying, “Look at all the Over The Hill guys who still ski and cycle faster than I do! And the whole town is run by smart, energetic and passionate baby boomers! What is all this talk about aging? I don’t get it!”

And that’s the point. If we want the Yampa Valley to remain the great place that it is, we need to keep the people here, no matter what their age.

Every week we open the newspaper to a new article about baby boomers. We can almost recite the statistics: “Baby boomers – those born between 1946 and 1964 – began turning 60 this year and are rapidly approaching retirement age. By 2030, the number of people over age 65 in the United States will exceed 71 million, double the number in the year 2000.” Just last week, the Associated Press published an article about a survey of more than 1,790 towns, counties and other municipalities, commissioned by the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging (n4a), that found just 46 percent are looking at strategies to deal with aging. According to Sandy Markwood, chief executive of n4a, “The question that people need to ask themselves – and their community leaders – is, ‘Is my community a good place to grow old?”‘ Steps to make it so, she added, “will make the community a better place, not just for the elderly, but for all.”

This column and the information contained on the Aging Well page, to be published every Monday, will target everyone in the Yampa Valley, but will be of special interest to our growing population of older adults and anyone who knows, loves, works with or cares for an older person. There will be feature articles of local and national interest. There will be resources to keep people connected. There will be tips on how to stay healthy and happy, secure and informed. There will be profiles of cool older members of our communities. Every week there will be a calendar of all the events and opportunities available primarily to Yampa Valley citizens “50 and Better.” Older members of our communities will be invited to teach something, share their secrets to successful living, make new connections, and learn new things. And the best part? If you pay attention, you will discover that in the Yampa Valley, aging well and living well are one and the same. We will be able to say to ourselves and the world that our community is not just a good place to grow old, but a great one.

Dace Kramer is VNA’s Aging Well Program Coordinator. She can be reached at dkramer@nwcovna.org or 871-7633.

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