Where to buy
The Aging Well Calendar Journal can be purchased with a $15 donation to the nonprofit Northwest Colorado Visiting Nurse Association. The calendar journal is available at VNA offices in Steamboat Springs, 940 Central Park Drive, Suite 101, and Craig, 745 Russell St., as well as at The Haven Assisted Living Center, 300 S. Shelton Lane in Hayden. Take a check made out to the VNA or exact cash. For more information, call 871-7676.
Healthier Living Colorado
The Calendar Journal features tips from Healthier Living Colorado, a chronic disease self-management program. Healthier Living workshops are held periodically throughout Routt and Moffat counties. Upcoming workshops will begin Jan. 14 in Maybell and Jan. 23 in Craig. Workshops for Spanish-speaking residents also are available. For more information, call 871-7676.
It was a windy, spring day when Nancy Smith and two of her Tai Chi students practiced their art barefoot in the park as traffic whizzed nearby.
It wasn’t an ideal setting for Tai Chi, but in a sense, that was the point — for the women to break out of their comfort zone just a bit, still enjoying themselves in the process.
The image capturing that moment is among 60 photos of older individuals doing what they love while shedding self-consciousness to reveal happiness, joy, silliness, focus and contentment.
The photos comprise the Aging Well Calendar Journal, a project highlighting active older adults in Routt, Moffat and Jackson counties. Their ages range from 50 to 100; most are 65 and older.
From playing tennis and hockey to branding cattle and gardening, the project emphasizes that a person is never too old to enjoy life’s many options.
“It’s just amazing how many different activities people are involved in. … It shows that if you take a few lessons and get yourself out there, you can do anything and because of that people are improving their health,” Smith said.
Produced by Aging Well, a program of the Northwest Colorado Visiting Nurse Association, the calendar journal is a place for users to record daily goals, accomplishments and reflections.
Steamboat Springs resident Ann Ross spearheaded the project and saw it through to completion, recruiting volunteer photographers and “models,” taking photos and helping with photo shoots, and working with the VNA on the many details involved in producing a 120-page, book-style calendar.
It was a daunting process, but to a woman who keeps busy Alpine skiing, volunteering and trying new adventures such as ice climbing, going for it was the only option.
This attitude — not being afraid to try new things or adjusting life to remain active — is exactly what Ross hopes to instill in others.
“If you’re not willing to break out of your mold … you’ve kind of given up living,” Ross said.
Ross’s idea was a natural match with the VNA’s Aging Well program, which promotes healthy aging through exercise and wellness programs throughout Routt and Moffat counties.
Aging Well also coordinates Healthier Living Colorado, a chronic disease self-management workshop in counties throughout the Western Slope.
The VNA was able to produce the calendar with funding from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, which supports Healthier Living Colorado.
The calendar journal features helpful “Toolbox tips” from the Healthier Living program as well as humorous and motivational quotes from well-known figures. The calendar is flexible — months and dates are left blank — so a person can begin using the journal any time of the year.
The calendar journal is available for a $15 donation to the Northwest Colorado VNA. Donations will help ensure Healthier Living Colorado remains available to older adults.
The idea of helping out a worthy cause motivated professional photographer Gerald Hardage to contribute his skills to the project. He was among 21 photographers whose photos appear in the journal.
“It’s a worthwhile project and really meaningful,” he said. “I enjoyed it so much and I love to meet people, especially people of that age who are so lively … and exercising life to the fullest.”
Meeting people that she wouldn’t usually meet was one of the most rewarding aspects of the project for Ross, who regrets she wasn’t able to include more individuals in the project.
“That was really rewarding — to branch out and talk to people and find out what they do,” she said.
Ross hopes the calendar journal encourages older adults to remain positive and, instead of dwelling on their limitations or what they can no longer do, to focus on what they can do.
“Write ‘no’ out of your vocabulary — find a substitute,” she said. “Go after it.”
The Aging Well Calendar Journal is available at VNA offices in Steamboat and Craig and at The Haven Assisted Living Center in Hayden. Take a check made out to the VNA or exact cash. For more information, call 871-7676.
Tamera Manzanares writes for the Aging Well program and can be reached at email@example.com. Aging Well, a division of Northwest Colorado Visiting Nurse Association, is a community-based program of healthy aging for adults 50 and older. For more information, visit www.agingwelltoday.com or call 871-7606.