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Conklin: New Surprise Optum Community Center to serve West Valley seniors

photo of Surprise Optum community center activity coordinator
Chloe Conklin, above, is the community programs manager at Optum – Arizona. (Photo: Courtesy of Optum/DigitalFreePress)
Surprise Optom Community Center meant to spur new activity for local seniors
By Chloe Conklin | Point of View

As we get older, the steps we need to take to maintain our health evolves. Staying physically and socially active take on a new level of importance as we seek to keep our bodies and minds healthy.

Simply put: Staying active is one of the very best ways to protect our health as we get older, and people who engage with others on a regular basis maintain a strong sense of purpose — and even live longer.

In line with Optum’s mission to help people live healthier lives, Optum – Arizona will open its newest Community Center on Oct. 19, at 15800 N. Lichfield Road in Surprise, Arizona.

What sets Optum Community Centers apart are their state-of-the-art fitness facilities designed for adaptable capabilities, along with classes covering a variety of interests and “living room” spaces where seniors can meet with friends – both old and new. The Optum Community Center is open to anyone 55 and older, at no cost and with no registrations required, regardless of their connection to Optum.

The new Surprise Optum Community Center joins five other centers located across the greater Phoenix area, along with one in Tucson. The centers have become neighborhood hubs, where older adults can gather in a social, supportive setting, improve their own health, and expand their social network at the same time.

With an understanding that all aspects of our health—physical, emotional, intellectual, and social—are intricately connected, programming at the Optum Community Centers stresses those aspects of the community’s wellbeing.

Physical activity sessions like chair yoga, Zumba, Pilates, and others are all led by experts in their respective fields. The classes are also designed to meet the participants where they are in their physical fitness journey, regardless of ability. Each Optum Community Center also features an exercise studio, where older adults can work on their cardiovascular and strength training with the support of Optum certified trainers.

Intellectual stimulation, specifically, learning new skills, is an important component to healthy aging and is central to Optum Community Center programming – with book clubs, conversational foreign language workshops, and even classes designed to get older adults comfortable with technology.

Social connection is fundamental to older adults maintaining overall health. The Optum Community Centers operate in fully social environments, so peers can get to know each, exercise with new friends, learn new skills, and truly build a sense of community.

Additionally, wellness exams, such as annual check-ups, retinal imaging, bone density tests, and neuropathy tests, are provided at the centers specifically for Optum members.

Editor’s note: Chloe Conklin is the community programs manager for Optum – Arizona.

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