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Aging Mastery Program coming to eight WNY counties

The National Council on Aging’s Aging Mastery Program (AMP) will soon be available in eight counties in the region.

AMP interactive classes, for adults 55 and older, encourages participants to develop sustainable behaviors that lead to health improvements, stronger economic security, enhanced well-being and increased participation in society.

The council created the program to develop new expectations, norms and pathways for people aged 50 to 100 to help them make the most of their “gift of longevity.”

AMP officials will work with the Health Foundation for Western and Central New York and State Office for the Aging on a 30-month initiative to embed the program in Erie, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Niagara, Wyoming, Orleans, Allegany and Genesee counties.

The 10-session program combines sharing knowledge in a classroom-like structure with goal setting, daily practice, peer support and small rewards. Expert local speakers lead a curriculum based on the challenges older adults may encounter as they age, and participants gain the skills and tools they need to master aging.

Class topics include exercise, sleep, healthy eating, financial fitness, advanced planning, healthy relationships, medication management and fall prevention. An additional two weeks on the topic of family caregiving can also be included at the host’s option.

Pilot projects across the country have shown that after taking the 10 sessions, AMP participants significantly increased their physical activity levels, had healthier eating habits, increased their use of advanced planning, stayed more socially connected and participated in evidence-based self-management programs.

“Growing older is a natural part of the life cycle,” Office for the Aging Acting Director Greg Olsen said in a news release. “People are living longer, and the overwhelming desire for most of us is to remain as independent and active as possible. To do that, we need to understand some of the challenges that face us as we grow older, and we also need to have strategies to help us meet our goals.”

Pilot programs in Erie, Niagara and Chautauqua counties helped show effectiveness of the classes, Olsen said.

The Health Foundation will work with the Population Health Collaborative to implement the program across the region over the next two years. To learn more about the foundation, its programs and projects, visit hfwcny.org.

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