Editor's note: With summer here, the Transcript takes a look at the area's offerings allowing senior residents the opportunity for active, healthy lifestyles.
The following "Active Senior" article is the last in this three-part weekly series.
Seniors can enjoy expanded programming and more company at Northern Berkshire's various councils on aging (COA) this summer, as directors, coordinators and volunteers have stepped up operations all over the area and are starting to see gains from the move.
Of all in the area, the Adams COA is the one that's seen the most change -- and enhancement -- recently.
The COA moved from East Street to the Adams Visitors Center in the heart of town on Hoosac Street last summer and has enjoyed growth as a result.
"Since the beginning of the year, we're serving 140 new older adults," Outreach Coordinator Linda Greenbush said.
Programming this summer focuses on health and exercise, Greenbush said. Seniors can take walks with the Adams Rail Trailers on the Ashuwillticook Rail Trail on Mondays and Thursdays, at 10 a.m., participate in the council's exercise program, or perform tai chi on Tuesdays, at 9:30 a.m., at 20 East St.
The council also sponsors day trips to the Lee Premium Outlets and the Berkshire Museum; quilting and crocheting groups; computer classes; and chess and art clubs.
The Cheshire COA took a big leap forward as well this season. They've hired Karmen Mitchell as outreach coordinator and are stepping up programming.
One new game night they've scheduled spotlights Bunco, a dice game that came out of Britain.
"It's simple math, like a brain exercise game, but one you don't know you're doing because it's fun," Mitchell said.
Bunco will be played from 4 to 7 p.m., on the first and third Sundays of every month, at the Cheshire Senior Center on School Street.
Like Adams, Cheshire has organized an Ashuwillticook Rail Trail walking group that will meet at 9 a.m., on Tuesdays, at the center, traveling south and north on alternative weeks.
On Aug. 2, town historian Barry Emery is hosting a presentation for seniors featuring his collection of historical Cheshire postcards at noon, at the Bass Water Grill. Those interested in participating can call the council to make a reservation.
In Williamstown, seniors can join in on a broad range of groups that focus on exercise, the arts, music, games and educational presentations.
"All of our stuff is good," Williamstown's COA Director Brian O'Grady said. "We're gearing up for a summer of fun and games."
O'Grady said "health and fitness issues are big right now," and many of the COA's speakers will hone in on that topic.
The COA hosts walking and exercise clubs three days a week and tai chi on two days, swimming at Williams College and more.
"They're all pretty popular," O'Grady said.
The COA also expects good turnouts at their planned live music events, bridge and other gaming clubs, cookouts and literary readings.
Donna Hartlage, director of the Florida Senior Center, said the facility offers a number of fitness programs for residents.
"We run a weekly yoga class," she said. "We also offer a fall-prevention class, that focuses on balance."
The center also has a fitness center downstairs, complete with Nautilus exercise equipment. The center will be introducing tai chi in September, she said.
The most recent monthly luncheon on July 8 featured guest Stephen Roy, the Veterans Service Officer for Northern Berkshire.
"I invited him to come up and introduce himself to veterans," Hartlage said.
Residents are also invited to a day trip to the Magic Wings Butterfly Conservatory and Gardens in Deerfield on July 22. Admission is $12, and residents are asked to sign up by July 18.