Howard Magazine - Page 19 - To Your Health - Tapping It Out

Howard Magazine
- Page 19
To Your Health - Tapping It Out

A 2017 county study found that the number of residents 65 and older is likely to more than double between 2010 and 2040.

 

“We decided we needed to expand our programs for this age group,” said Ruth Coleman, hired in 2017 as manager of the department’s Active Aging Program.

 

As a result of this push, the offerings for older residents have ballooned from 23 programs with 2,473 participants in the fall of 2017 to 37 programs with 2,804 participants in the fall of 2018, with more expected this fall, according to Coleman.

 

“The whole idea of the 50 to 75 age group is being redefined,” Coleman said. “Just because you retire, doesn’t mean you just want to sit off to the side. Maybe there’s something you always wanted to try but didn’t have the time for. Maybe you want to travel. Or maybe you want to try tap dance.”

 

The regulars at the Kinetics Dance studio certainly do.

 

“I love it,” said Judy Goldhirsh, 75, of Columbia. “It’s good exercise, it’s fun, it gives me a wonderful feeling of freedom and movement.”

 

“Many times,” she added, “the classes [for aging adults] are knitting or sewing or mahjong – things where you just sit and talk or whatever.

 

“I know I need to work out, but I’m not very good about going to an athletic club. If I’m dancing, I’m much more likely to get my exercise.”

 

“It’s good exercise and I like the sociability,” agreed Joan Harvey, 81, of Columbia. “And Gina’s a good teacher.”

 

“Gina” would be Gina Bates Brown, a former professional dancer who has taught dancing for nearly 30 years and, at 51, is old enough to take the class.

 

This is Brown’s first senior class. She makes a few accommodations for the age of her students— “With the little ones, I tell them ‘Jump higher!’ I don’t tell [the seniors class] to jump higher”— but otherwise, she sticks to the usual routines.

 

For the students, she added, “It’s great for mind, body and soul.”

 

If you go

 

Registration is closed for spring classes, and no summer classes for seniors are scheduled. For information about fall classes, visit howardcountymd.gov/encore