Growing Bolder is smashing the outdated stereotypes associated with traditional “senior expos.”
We believe that if you want to engage an entire community in an event that promotes the importance of healthy aging, it needs to be different. It needs to be exciting, interactive and full of life. We’ve changed the game for good with Growing Bolder Day.
Growing Bolder Day is an event unlike any other. It’s a circus of possibility infused with energy, activity, education, and entertainment, to promote the importance of an active lifestyle, social engagement, purpose, and creativity as we age. It’s designed to appeal to adults of all ages, to celebrate the value of intergenerational connection, and to change belief systems about how our later years can look.
The first annual Growing Bolder Day, presented by the Senior Resource Alliance, was held at the Center for Health and Wellbeing in Winter Park, FL on National Ageism Awareness Day, and in the middle of Active Aging Week.
It featured tai chi, pickleball, social gaming, functional fitness, nutrition demonstrations, an intergenerational wisdom walk, yoga, a drum circle, an inspirational Growing Bolder mini film fest, a Rock Stars of Aging longevity forum, a caregiving summit, and resources on chronic disease management and more from local healthcare and senior service providers.
“Growing Bolder Day was everything that I didn’t know I needed,” said Dajah Miller. “It shows that your options are limitless. You’re getting better with time. You can take the original version of yourself and enhance it every day.”
It’s inspiration that our life is just beginning, and we need to get the most out of these chaptersGregor Alexander
“This gives me so much hope,” Myriam Balthazar, 56, said. “We always hear that growing old is slowing down and waiting to die. But Growing Bolder Day shows that is not true. Now I want to live up to a hundred.”
“I learned so much today,” Gregor Alexander said. “It’s inspiration that our life is just beginning, and we need to get the most out of these chapters.”
“It really was a party, with so many activities for your physical and mental wellbeing,” said Deborah Watson, executive Vice President of the Winter Park Health Foundation.
While smashing ageist stereotypes and celebrating the nearly endless opportunities for lifelong learning, Growing Bolder Day also underscored the reality that a large and growing number of older adults in our community are struggling, and the many dedicated organizations working tirelessly to meet their needs require community support.
“It’s so important to uplift the lives of others. This is a fabulous event for the community because it’s enhancing the quality of life of our seniors and caregivers in Central Florida,” Karla Radka, president and CEO of the Senior Resource Alliance said. “Our goal is to raise awareness of what can be done at every age to prepare for the future, and of the resources we have available for local seniors and their families to help them age happily and healthily.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 90% of U.S. healthcare dollars are spent treating largely preventable chronic illness and only 3% goes toward prevention. Growing Bolder Day inspires healthy lifestyle choices and promotes the importance of prevention for all ages. “Countless studies confirm that individuals have a large degree of control over their health and wellbeing as they age,” said Growing Bolder CEO, Marc Middleton. “By our actions, we can delay and prevent many of the illnesses that older Floridians suffer from, including cancer, diabetes, cardiac disease, and Alzheimer’s. Inspiring daily lifestyle choices that increase our healthspan is the ultimate win-win. An improved quality of life for individuals and a reduced care burden on families, state, and local senior service providers.”
The need for Growing Bolder Day has never been larger. Mayor Philip M. Anderson officially proclaimed October 7th, 2023 as Growing Bolder Day in Winter Park, Florida, acknowledging the importance of supporting the choices that residents can make as they age to create a healthier community.
But the mission is much larger than just one community. Florida has the largest percentage of adults 65 and older in the nation (21%) and as the state’s senior population continues to increase, Florida’s future is linked to the health and wellbeing of its elder population. Every city should be committed to creating opportunities for them to remain active and engaged in community life, and to do so independently and with dignity.
“This event is enormously important,” said Mayra Uribe, Commissioner for Orange County District 3. “We need to make sure we’re fulfilling the needs of our community and giving older adults opportunities to engage. By 2040, my generation will be over 65, and it’s wonderful to create a positive environment for our future. It’s inspiring to realize that there is still a lot of opportunity ahead to love living and to Grow Bolder.”
Every city needs a Growing Bolder Day to raise awareness of the positive aspects of growing older, to combat ageist attitudes and stereotypes, and to inspire all adults to push past traditional boundaries.
It’s inspiring to realize that there is still a lot of opportunity ahead to love living and to Grow Bolder.Mayra Uribe, Commissioner for Orange County District 3
This article is featured in the Winter 2023 issue of The Growing Bolder Digital Digest.