Columbus and Bartholomew County have made enormous strides over the past few decades in recognizing and acting upon the needs of its senior population.
It has long been recognized as an ideal area for retirees, keeping not only those who have lived here for a good part of their active careers but also attracting those from other communities who have selected it as a place to live out their lives.
Accommodating this age group has been a significant undertaking, one that has been admirably managed in a number of important areas.
Mill Race Center, formerly Senior Center Services, has been in the forefront of this achievement, providing a variety of outlets not only for those who fit the traditional perception of older residents but also those of a younger generation.
Typical of the organization’s broad-based approach has been the center’s latest venture — a national pilot project called Aging Mastery, which is intended to improve the health of people 50 and older.
The intent of the weekly hour-long sessions is to promote such activities as healthy eating, regular exercise, proper medication management and improved communication with doctors and caregivers.
There is no question about the demand for such assistance. Although there were only 40 slots available initially, more than 160 local residents applied for the program. Officials at Mill Race Center expanded the class size to 90 and put the remaining applicants on a waiting list.
This program can also be viewed as an endorsement of Mill Race Center and its role in improving the quality of life for its clients in particular and the community in general.
The center is one of five from around the country that were selected by the National Institute for Senior Citizens for participation in the pilot program.
While the material is obviously important, equally integral to this program is the six-month monitoring process that will measure the progress of the participants. If deemed successful — a status local officials consider to be inevitable — the program can be extended and expanded in the future.