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Millbrook seniors get fit for Older Americans Month

MILLBROOK — The month of May was when this country celebrated Older Americans Month, with the last Wednesday of the month reserved for National Senior Health and Fitness Day.

Residents at The Fountains in Millbrook, an independent living facility for seniors as well as those in assisted living, did their part to celebrate the month and the day and embrace their age and vitality on Wednesday, May 25. The plan to keep up with their fitness routines throughout June, the rest of the summer and the rest of the 2022.

Roughly 30 residents and staff gathered to take part in a group walk, called The Fountain’s  Hilltoppers’ Walk. While a few residents were in wheelchairs pushed by their caregivers, a great many walked on their own. Some used canes or walkers, but all were determined, and every one of them finished the walk.

They all celebrated at race’s end, enjoying protein bars and cups of juice as they crossed the finish line.

Some of the walkers were in their late 70s, but most were older, in their 80s, 90s. One will be celebrating her 103rd birthday this June.

The walk was not extensive, possibly a half-a-mile round trip, from the inn to the chapel and back. Yet it did feature a small hill and was held on asphalt.

Signs of encouragement were posted along the way. There was a finishing line made up of colored flags.
The weather was perfect —warm with a light wafting breeze — and to keep everyone upbeat, Fern, a favorite therapy dog at The Fountains, went along for the trek.

National Senior Health and Fitness Day is the largest health and wellness movement for seniors in the U.S. It is nationally celebrated by the Mature Market Resource Center, a clearinghouse organization for older adults that works with many nonprofit organizations and private NGOs.

The purpose is to make the public aware of the need to increase seniors’ physical activity options and to highlight the importance of good nutrition for their physical and mental well-being. Regular exercise is also known to be helpful in alleviating falls and preventing fractures and breaks by keeping bone mass healthy. The day also acknowledges the importance of good nutrition and exercise to prevent ill health. Some diseases can be prevented by keeping a healthy weight, eating right and getting regular exercise.

Those celebrating  National Senior Health and Fitness Day include senior centers, recreation centers, retirement communities and more.

Director of Fountains Community Life Lisa Rieckermann said the community was “proud” to participate this year. She walked with her dog in the event and she gave much of the credit for the walk’s success to her assistant, Donna Hanson, and Sue Close, a community life associate.

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