Columbus at forefront of aging issues with events

Columbus is carving another niche for itself, increasingly playing a leading role on the matter of aging. This month and next, the city will host events about the topic.

Seek 2015: Engaging Communities to Age Well is planned for Sept. 20 to 22 at Mill Race Center and other downtown Columbus locations. Up to 300 people with interests in helping others age well, including leaders at senior citizens centers across the nation, will come to Columbus to learn how to help people stay healthy and be active longer into their lives. Already more than 130 have enrolled.

This conference is the first major initiative for the Pitman Institute for Aging Well, which was launched in the spring by Mill Race Center, the city’s senior center, to help people 50 and older embrace healthy lifestyles.

The Pitman Institute, named after retired Mill Race Center Executive Director Bob Pitman, is focusing on research, learning opportunities and evidence-based programs for healthy living. The conference in September is a great start for the institute.

On Friday, Columbus will host a Reach Healthy Communities discussion about Blue Zones, a term for areas around the world where residents live an average of 10 years longer than on the average. Tony Buettner, vice president for product and business development for Blue Zones, an initiative to help people live longer and better lives, is the keynote speaker.

Interest in the Blue Zones event has been so great that it had to be moved from Hamilton Center Ice Arena to a larger venue, The Commons.

Columbus was at the forefront of aging when it opened a senior center in 1957, the first of its kind in Indiana. The opening of Mill Race Center in 2011 and the Pitman Institute for Aging Well this year demonstrate the dedication the community has to providing resources to benefit people 50 and older. And now, the ability to attract national speakers to present information on the topic shows that Columbus is taking the lead again.

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WHAT: Reach Healthy Communities Blue Zones discussion

WHEN: 7:30 to 9:30 a.m. Friday

WHERE: The Commons, 300 Washington St., Columbus

COST: Free, and breakfast is included, but registration is required.

TO REGISTER: Call the Columbus Area Chamber of Commerce at 812-379-4457, or visit