Erie County Stay Fitness Program

By Richard Derwald,
Senior Fitness/Wellness
Consultant Erie County

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MYTH #1 – Older adults do not like the term senior citizen.

FACT: Not true! I am a senior citizen (86 years old) and have spent more than 20 years of my life teaching and leading group fitness classes at all of the senior centers throughout Erie County. I have never heard a complaint regarding the term senior citizen. Most participants at the centers refer to themselves as seniors. Strangely, the only complaints I am aware of come from those much younger who, for some reason, believe the term is inappropriate and offensive.
Erie County Senior Services reminds us that we must recognize that becoming a senior citizen is a great and wonderful gift not given to everyone.

MYTH #2 - The needs of senior citizens are different from those of younger people.

FACT: Yes. There is a much greater variety of intellect, thought and physical ability among older people than among those younger. But basic human needs (mind, body and spirit) do not change as we grow older.
Erie County Senior Services offers a wide spectrum of programs that satisfy our basic human needs and enrich our lives. You will find programs that promote and enhance physical health and vitality by ensuring balanced nutrition (STAY FIT dining program) and education designed to maintain or even re-gain your health such as the Chronic Disease Self-Management Program and the Diabetes Self-Management Program. Stimulating social interactions are at the core of these programs.

MYTH # 3 - As people age, they lose their ability to learn new things.

FACT: Not true! Older adults still have the ability to learn new things, create new memories, and improve their performance in a variety of skills. While aging does often come with changes in thinking, many cognitive changes are positive, such as having more knowledge and insight from a lifetime of experiences.
Erie County Senior Services offers a Lifelong Learning Program Series called UNIVERSITY EXPRESS. The classes cover current events, law and finances, science and medicine, humanities, wellness, and history. Several studies have shown that
older adults who sought new information and acquired new skills actually improved both their cognitive and physical health.

MYTH # 4 Older adults should take it easy and avoid exercise so they don’t get injured.

FACT: Not totally true! As you age, you may think exercise could do more harm than good, especially if you have a chronic condition. However, studies show that you have a lot more to gain by being active — and a lot to lose by sitting too much. Often, inactivity is more to blame than age when older people lose the ability to do things on their own. Almost anyone, at any age and with most health conditions, can participate in some type of physical activity. In fact, physical activity may help manage some chronic conditions. Exercise and physical activity are not only great for your mental and physical health, but can help keep you independent as you age. Erie County Senior Services offers a wellness, fitness, longevity program called CLUB 99.

A message from David Shenk, Commissioner Erie County Senior Services

The mission of the Department of Senior Services of Erie County is to promote the well-being of all older adults through coordinated and cost-effective services which enhance their independence, dignity, and quality of life.

Above is our departmental mission it is also my personal objective and goal. The following programs are specifically designed for you the over 60 residents of Erie County

The following available at most Senior Centers and select sites throughout Erie County Monday through Friday.

STAY FIT DINING – Offering 1/3 of the minimum daily requirement of vitamins, minerals, protein and all essential nutrients

CLUB 99 – A free Senior wellness, fitness, longevity group exercise program.

Nutrition Consulting – A free consulting session with a NYS Registered Dietitian regarding your personal and specific dietary requirements.

Nutrition Education – Free – The most current nutrition facts presented by a NYS Registered Dietitian.

Times and places for these FREE classes and programs as regularly announced.

UNIVERSITY EXPRESS –– Lifelong learning on a variety of subjects.

NUTRITION EDUCATION – The most current nutrition facts presented by a NYS Registered Dietitian.

MATTER OF BALANCE PROGRAM – Proven to reduce your risk of falling.

CHRONIC DISEASE SELF-MANAGEMENT – How to control chronic disease.


RETIRED SENIOR VOLUNTEER PROGRAM – Volunteering helping others.

AGING MASTERY PROGRAM – Significantly enhancing this phase of your life.

“I most sincerely urge all senior residents to take advantage of these great life, health and longevity enhancing programs and classes being offered by Erie County Senior Services.” David Shenk