“Be Strong, Live Long,” a health and wellness fair highlighting community resources for seniors, takes place May 20, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Fremont Park, next to the Santa Clara Senior Center, 1303 Fremont Ave. More than 20 organizations will provide information for senior care givers and healthy lifestyle information for all seniors. Bring $7 for a BBQ lunch that begins at 11 a.m. and lasts until the food runs out.
The fair includes tours of the senior center, fitness class demonstrations with opportunities to participate, and free hearing and vision screening by the Santa Clara Lions Club. Get a stamp in your “passport” at each booth you visit to be entered into a raffle for prizes.
Here’s a shocker for some: According to Senior Center recreation supervisor Jennifer Herb senior begins at 50. Seniors 50 to 65 are classified as new old, those 65 to 80 as old, and those over 80 as old old.
One goal of the fair, co-sponsored by the Santa Clara Senior Center and the Santa Clara Senior Advisory Commission, is to provide caregivers with resources to help them care for senior family members (usually parents) so they can age in place in their homes rather than move to assisted living facilities. Another goal is to introduce the senior community to programs available at the Senior Center.
“Older adults that are helping take care of seniors are often still working,” said Herb. “We want to provide them with the resources to take care of themselves and those they care for.”
Grant McCauley, Health & Wellness Fair chairperson and Senior Advisory Commissioner, is a caregiver for his 93-year-old, housebound mom, who still lives independently.
“I’m constantly researching what I can do to improve my mom’s life and help her out,” said McCauley. “I’m really excited to help put this fair on. It’s going to be a lot of great information in one location. In four hours, people can talk to all these organizations.”
A sampling of the organizations: Silicon Valley Independent Living Center, the Elder Abuse Task Force, the Santa Clara IT Department with information on smart phone apps and security for seniors, Kaiser Hospital, Santa Clara Women’s League and Valley Transportation Authority.
“Also, we want to get new seniors involved and using the senior center facilities and programs more,” said McCauley. “When I was 50, I was one of those ignorant of the many programs there for you to use. I’m retired now, and I really use the pool a lot. I also use the exercise room.”
According to the 2010 U.S. census, Santa Clara residents 65 and older number 11,679, which is 10.03 percent of the total population of 116,468. About nine percent of the City population is 55 to 64. In Santa Clara County, those 65 and older make up about 15 percent of the population. Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay Area include about two-thirds of California’s older adult population.
To help Santa Clara better meet the needs of its older adult population, seniors are encouraged to fill out and submit a senior needs assessment questionnaire as soon as it becomes available, possibly at the fair.
Santa Clara has applied to the World Health Organization to become designated as an age-friendly city that encourages active aging and is inclusive of older people with varying needs and capacities. The WHO (https://extranet.who.int/agefriendlyworld/) supports cities worldwide in the effort to become a more age-friendly world.