GUEST COLUMN: Celebrate Older Americans Month in May

Modified: May 6, 2019 11:01am

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May is Older Americans Month, a great month to celebrate the seniors in our lives and for older residents to take advantage of opportunities to enrich themselves. The Erie County Senior Services Department has programs and activities to keep seniors busy throughout May and into the summer, and will also be hosting Elder Law Day again this year on June 6.

The very popular University Express program has returned for the spring semester, offering free one-hour courses in a variety of topics such as current events, history, the arts, and science. Sixteen sites around Erie County host University Express classes, which are designed to provide older adults with opportunities for intellectual stimulation, learning, and discussion in accessible settings. There is no homework or tests, just exciting discussion about academic topics alongside peers with similar interests. A wide variety of over 90 topics awaits interested learners, and with classes offered through July there are many opportunities to attend a class of your choice. Classes are free, but pre-registration is recommended by calling the site where the class will be held. For a copy of the schedule call (716) 858-8526 or visit the Senior Services website.

The Senior Hiking Club, a new program happening this year through collaboration between the Senior Services and Parks Departments, opened the spring season on May 2 with a wildflower walk at Emery Park led by Park Ranger Chuck. The Club offers a series of free weekly hikes geared towards seniors at Parks around the county on Thursday afternoons at 2:30 PM, and each will feature a brief warm up with Senior Services’ “Mr. Fitness”, Richard Derwald prior to the hike beginning. An Erie County Park Ranger will lead each hike, exploring history, flora and fauna, and much more during each one-hour excursion. Learn more about wildflowers, floodplains, birds, parks infrastructure, waterfalls and geology, and other interesting topics while enjoying our beautiful county parks. View the full schedule on the county Parks website, or call (716) 858-8355 for more information. The eight-week schedule runs through June 20, takes a break for the summer, and will resume for eight weeks in the fall. Ranger Chuck, Ranger Jerry, and Ranger Stephanie are looking forward to seeing you!

Finally, mark your calendar and plan to attend Elder Law Day on Thursday June 6 at the Millennium Hotel in Cheektowaga. Elder Law Day provides information to assist older adults in making informed choices about their health and financial well-being. Seniors, caregivers, and family members can choose to attend up to three seminars on topics such as wills, trusts, Medicaid, Medicare Patient Rights, and Elder Justice Guardianship to name a few. If you are a senior or a caregiver to an older adult you should plan on being present for this informative and enjoyable day. It is a great opportunity to get answers to your questions, so please register online at or by calling 9716) 858-6864. Registration closes on June 2.