Seniors explore ways of slowing down the aging process by remaining active

Published: Friday, Oct. 5 2012 6:00 p.m. MDT

"I try to have a sense of humor about it," Emily Warner said.

The two keep busy with volunteering, working puzzles, handiwork projects and computer games at home.

Keeping the mind and body active, Brenna said, is important for individuals who are getting older and finding themselves with less that is necessary to do.

Staying positive

"My outlook on life is that this is it and it is perfect," said Jeannie Barnish. She suffers from a variety of health problems, but doesn't let it get her down. "I pay attention to my body and I respect my body's limitations."

The eclectic 65-year-old exercises daily, on the treadmill, outside and at one of 10 different fitness classes offered by Salt Lake County Aging Services throughout the valley. It's all an effort to be healthy enough to enjoy her other hobbies, which include gardening, camping, traveling and sitting on the patio with her husband and the neighbors at night.

The exercise classes, she said, do more than help her be healthy, however. She gains strength and balance, but also builds camaraderie with people her age and makes a lot of new friends.

"I'm not afraid of growing older," she said. "I have no complaints about life. But I have to work hard to be that way. I just think it is better to be happy than to complain all the time."

Brenna said that for the most part, the aging generations want to be a part of their communities and be involved with others.

A variety of free services provided by the department help the elderly, which is sometimes a more vulnerable population, to accomplish whatever might be on their bucket list.

"It should be their choice as much as possible," she said. "Any one of us, if asked, would want to stay in our own homes and be as independent as possible."

Grant Warner spends a lot of time stocking shelves at the LDS bishops' storehouse, and Galloway still serves members of his church and works weekly at his local LDS temple.

It's something that gives their lives meaning and purpose, "which is important for someone my age," Galloway said. He stays up until midnight most nights and is awake early every day.

"No matter what I might be feeling, I still get up every day," he said. "I have to keep moving."

E-mail: wleonard@desnews.com, Twitter: wendyleonards

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