NRPA’s Online Community Forums Discuss Ways to Engage Seniors

May 1, 2013, Department, by Danielle Taylor

What activities are most popular with seniors in your community?“What programs does your agency provide to engage seniors in your community with parks and recreation?"

Currently, aquacize, yoga and bridge have been our most successful programs to engage our Boomers and Beyond age group. Most of these programs are not targeted solely to that age group, and that has been a bonus. Part of the challenge in serving this age group, and I am in it, is that there are probably at least three age stratifications within the population to be served, and each has distinct needs.
Steve Baysinger
Executive Director
Blue Valley Recreation Commission
Overland Park, Kansas

With more than 700 programs offered just at the Cary Senior Center, we have expanded offerings to the other community centers (primarily exercise and sports) as well utilizing the Arts Center for events. Athletics has been coordinating 50+ and 60+ softball leagues for several years, and the Tennis Center hosts 55+ -only events that attract more than 50 participants twice a year.
The fastest-growing population in our 140,000-person town is of retirement age. Our community garden, computer classes, exercise programs (yoga, weight training, nia, aerobics, etc.) and creative arts classes (drawing, painting, photography and art history to name a few) are the most filled activities. Several programs fill at midnight on the first day of online registration!
We offer night and weekend classes for the 50+ crowd at the Cary Senior Center as well as all-age programs for overflow use from community centers, and this has increased the comfort level of using our facility by the boomer population. The average age of our participants has dropped in the past 10 years from 74 to 69. We continue to offer programs for social interaction that are mostly popular with our 75+ age group, including luncheons, holiday parties and card groups. As our community ages, the needs of each generation changes, and we are using input from our participants to keep up!
Jody L. Jameson, CPRP
Senior Center Supervisor
Town of Cary Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources
Cary, North Carolina

Network Buzz appears monthly in Parks & Recreation. Questions are posed to members of NRPA Connect, the interactive social media section of the association’s website. It’s a convenient and effective way for NRPA members to connect, collaborate and communicate. For more information and to join one of the site’s many groups, visit www.nrpa.org/membership/NRPA-Connect-Online-Community. Topic suggestions are always welcome: email dtaylor@nrpa.org.