The 2016 census identified Parksville as having one of the oldest demographics in the country. It’s a grey area, but it has one of the most active senior communities around.
According to Jenn Hopewell, recreation programmer for the Regional District of Nanaimo, the older population here and in surrounding areas does not allow aging to slow them down.
To make sure that they’re active, the RDN has provided seniors a spate of physical activities they can choose from and engage in each year.
To promote those activities, the regional district is celebrating Active Aging Week in the last week of September.
The goal of the annual event, now in its fifth year, Hopewell said, is to highlight a variety of opportunities for older adults aged 50 years or better to stay active.
“It is getting more popular every year,” said Hopewell. “We’re getting more participation and so we’re adding more activities each year.”
For the week from Sept. 25 to Oct. 1, the regional district is offering a variety of free drop-in activities that older adults can try out.
“The end of September is a really good time for a lot of new residents who moved here,” said Hopewell.
“It will give them a good opportunity to check out new things. We have a lot of new residents coming out trying different things.”
The activities include seated fitness, gentle fit, gentle cardio, Qigong, workshops, tai-chi, darts, walking soccer, mini golf and many more. You can check out the list of activities at http://www.rdn.bc.ca/cms.asp?wpID=3100
The new additions to the list, Hopewell said, are bodywork fitness, bodysculptor fitness, aquafit and a hiking information session.
Hopewell said staying active is important as you age. It improves both physical and mental health.
“It helps with their brain health, keeping them young and their minds active,” said Hopewell.
“It also prevents disease, aches and pains, and a lot of people find it a remedy to keep their body moving.”
Hopewell added the social aspect is also a huge component.
“Isolation can be really detrimental to people’s health,” said Hopewell.
“Keeping them actively engaged can help.”
Last year, the regional district had close to 350 participants. It’s expecting more this year.
“We do have people who are much older participating but we have a lot of people who are newly retired and new residents here who are very active and looking to keep that activity or add more,” said Hopewell.
“We have a very active population.”