East Hampton Town and New York State would like comments from residents 60 years of age and older for a comprehensive survey of older adults, the director of the town’s Human Services Department said on Tuesday.
The town, in partnership with the State Office for the Aging, seeks respondents to the survey, which will help inform future state policies, Diane Patrizio told the town board. The anonymous survey takes 10 to 15 minutes to complete and can be found at bit.ly/3yXj0Gd.
The solicitation of survey respondents came during a discussion of Programs for the Aging, the title of a new program within the Human Services Department. “In response to a demographic change, with our older residents living longer and healthier, Human Services is increasing wellness activities and educational programs and clubs designed to meet the needs and interests of our 60-and-over community,” Ms. Patrizio told the board.
The discussion also came amid planning for a new senior citizens center, to be constructed off Abraham’s Path in Amagansett, which will replace the center on Springs-Fireplace Road in East Hampton, a building that is more than 100 years old.
By 2034, adults 65 and older are projected to outnumber those under 18, a first in American history, according to the United States Census Bureau.
According to recent research, those with more positive attitudes about growing old tend to live longer and healthier lives than those with negative thoughts about aging, Ms. Patrizio said. Remaining socially active by joining a club or community organization, finding projects that align with one’s values, trying new activities, and teaching skills or crafts to others are ways to develop a more positive attitude about aging, she said. Regular exercise can help older adults remain independent and prevent age-related health problems.
Ms. Patrizio told the board about the seven members of the Wellness 60+ Team who offer classes in yoga, qigong, meditation, balance and self-defense, barre sculpt and stretch (a ballet-inspired workout), mindful movement, and osteoporosis prevention. Classes are held at the senior citizens center, Ashawagh Hall in Springs, and the Montauk Playhouse, where pickleball is also offered.
As Covid-19 pandemic concerns fade, “things are picking up,” Ms. Patrizio said. “Covid was difficult for all of us, but I think it was pretty hard on the 60-plus community. It’s taken a while for things to pick up, but I really see the spirit coming back, and more people coming to the center and being really excited about all the different classes. And of course, when we get our new building and have more space, there will be room for a lot more to go on at the same time.”