Written By: Katie Harris
Seniors across the city of Philadelphia are lacing up their walking shoes this weekend for the third annual Senior Strut.
Fairmount Park Conservancy, in conjunction with Philadelphia Corporation for Aging (PCA) and Philadelphia Parks and Recreation, are putting on the event. Over 500 senior citizens are expected to turn out for the one-mile walk and health fair.
In 2012, PCA found that even with the wealth of parks, trails, and open public spaces to which Philadelphia lays claim, seniors are underutilizing the resources. In fact, 72% of older adults in Philadelphia reported they had not gone to a public recreational facility within the past year!
“We looked at that data and it got us thinking,” says Meg Holscher, Senior Director of Development at Fairmount Park Conservancy. “We wanted to know how we could make our public spaces safer and more inviting for people in Philadelphia of all ages.”
In partnership with many organizations and agencies across the city, they set out to answer that exact question. Focus groups with seniors were planned to see what needs were not yet being addressed, and how parks and public space could be more suitable for seniors.
One notable lesson learned was that seniors wanted to share their experience with others, so the groups developed strategies to better publicize existing walking groups and connect seniors to walking groups near where they lived.
Even better, the partners thought; let’s bring all Philadelphia seniors out on one day to catalyze the energy and excitement about a walkable, age-friendly city! And Senior Strut was born.
Joan Zaremba, director of marketing and corporate relations with PCA, says that various organizations and agencies in Philadelphia are working hard to ensure that Philadelphia is a good city to age in. She says that events like Senior Strut are a fitting example of the excellent work that can be done when groups partner to achieve shared goals.
The event will kick off at 9:30 a.m. this Friday, Oct. 9. The Mummers string band will lead the walk along Kelly Drive, starting from and returning to Lloyd Hall. The walk will be followed by a health fair with 25 different vendors and a demo stage with fun demonstrations and information being presented.
You can find more information here: http://www.pcacares.org/strut/.
Photo Credit: Fairmount Park Conservancy