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'Silver tsunami' set to hit Utah as older Utahns start to outnumber preschoolers

Published: Sunday, May 25 2014 12:40 a.m. MDT

The division has new initiatives intended to help improve the nutritional offerings of Meals on Wheels. The program plans to supplement meal deliveries with fresh produce grown at Wheeler Farm and the Salt Lake County Jail's horticulture program.

Kapp said program managers have determined that some seniors share home-delivered meals with their pets. The program now distributes pet food to clients who are pet owners through a grant from Banfield Charitable Trust to help change those habits.

The division is continually reaching out to private and government partners to obtain services for seniors that help improve their health and quality of life, she said. This includes classes for caregivers and a respite program.

Many of the classes for seniors at Millcreek Community Center are taught by volunteers, Madsen said. The offerings range from book clubs, computer instruction and chess to fitness programs tailored to seniors' needs such as tai chi, chair yoga or an outdoor walking club. There are classes for caregivers and to teach seniors how better to manage arthritis.

Anne Polinsky, a member of the bridge group, said she also regularly uses the county library branch that is integrated into the community center. An avid hiker, Polinsky said she prefers to exercise outdoors than work out at the recreation center. At 71, she goes on two or three hikes a week.

While she believes the private sector must also provide housing and other accommodations that allow seniors to age in place, the county's programs for seniors are a boon to their well-being. There is no charge for programming specifically for seniors and there is a suggested donation for meals. Recreation passes for seniors are offered at a reduced rate.

The food is "exceptionally good," Polinsky said. She has high praise for the other amenities of offerings of Millcreek Community Center.

"They offer such an array of things. There really is something for everyone."

Email: marjorie@deseretnews.com

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