Wednesday October 24, 2012

When people think of senior citizens they often conjure up images of someone with gray hair sitting in a wheelchair or rocking chair and knitting a scarf or playing bingo. Though there are some who fit that stereotype, more and more seniors today are breaking the mold.

They’re healthier, more active and more mentally alert than previous generations of senior citizens, leading to the axiom that 70 is now the new 30. There have even been studies on this issue, with the National Academy of Sciences releasing a report earlier this month which confirms that people around the world are living longer and staying healthy and active well into their 70s.

That comes as no surprise to Jessy Cudworth, assistant director of the Brattleboro Recreation and Parks Department. She says the report affirms what she has been seeing while engaging with Brattleboro seniors.

Cudworth said today’s seniors have interests in physical activities that the senior center is trying to adopt into its expanding programs. Over the past few years she has seen a growing interest in senior softball, ping pong, wiffle ball and line dancing.

"We have knitting classes and bridge, but we want people to come down and see what else is going on here," she said. "People come by and are surprised about the people who are here and the options we have."

Cudworth is trying to get the word out about everything the senior center has to offer. She is hoping for a good turnout at a Senior Health Expo taking place today, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., in the Brattleboro Senior Center at 207 Main Street. The event will focus on nutrition, health care and healthy living, but Cudworth also wants the event to be a way for people to come learn about the senior center and its many programs and activities designed to help seniors live fuller, richer, healthier lives.

"We are trying to reach out to what we are calling the younger seniors," she said. "We have a lot of different programs for a lot of different ages and we want to get new people in here." So forget what you thought you knew about senior centers and come down to see everything the one in Brattleboro has to offer.