I am teaming up with a very important lady in my life for this blog – my grandmother, Jane Smith Steinberg!

My grandmother is one of the reasons I am so passionate about healthy living, nutrition, and physical activity. She taught at Knox Middle School for 31 plus years; in fact, everyone I talk to remembers her as their P.E. teacher! She was also a great tennis and track coach. She has maintained a healthy lifestyle throughout her life. Even now, every week you can find her swimming, taking aerobics, dancing, and serving her community.


Health Connector Alyssa Smith with her grandmother and long-time P.E. teacher at Knox Middle School, Jane Smith Steinberg.


“I’ve kept up with health most of my life – eating and being active. I had an issue with my hip due to a fall, but I’m back to tap dancing! I went to the Chair Yoga and Balance classes at Rufty-Holmes Senior Center to help build my strength back up. I love the opportunities we have in Rowan County for health and wellness for seniors. It doesn’t matter what age you are, even if you haven’t exercised. You’re never too old or too afraid to get over it and start doing something! My friend Hazel Trexler Campbell started tap dancing at 70 and at 96 – she’s still at it! It’s a good reminder to everyone that it doesn’t matter what age you are, even if you haven’t exercised, you should get up and get moving,” explains my grandmother.

Something unique about Rowan County is the large number of senior services we have in the community. Did you know that we have something of a “Silver Tsunami” in Rowan County? That means by 2036, around 28 percent of the population will be over the age of 60. In addition, the number of residents 65 to 74 will increase 35 percent. Lastly, those 85 and older will increase 53 percent. This is great news for all. Our goal in healthcare is to have something called “successful aging” where a person is able to avoid disease and disability, have optimal cognitive and physical function, and have a great engagement with life as they age.


Fun, Fitness, & Feelin’ Good

One of these great resources is Rufty-Holmes Senior Center which provides a variety of health and wellness, learning and leisure, and other services for Rowan County seniors. September is actually National Senior Center Month, which is a time to celebrate all the wonderful programs and services Senior Centers offer to promote positive aging. No matter your age, when you are moving, active, and engaged, you feel better and have a more positive attitude about life in general.

In their most recent rewsletter, Nan Buehrer, Rufty-Holmes Executive Director, writes, “I encourage you to find a new event or program in this newsletter and decide to attend. Better yet, invite a friend or neighbor to join you. We don’t realize that someone is feeling lonely; they often won’t tell you. Invite them to join you; it’s much easier to come someplace new with a friend!”

My grandmother loves going to Rufty-Holmes to meet up with friends, use the indoor swimming pool, or check out events. It’s not all fitness focused either – some events like the Walk-About scheduled on October 10th at Hurley Park is an opportunity to socialize and have a lunch together afterwards.

Rufty-Holmes also provides essential services for seniors when it comes to food. They offer six Lunch Clubs located throughout Rowan County to provide a healthy meal option for all. Guests are asked to donate according to their ability to pay. The center is also a partner with Second Harvest Food Bank of Metrolina and provides a food pantry for those in need. Finally, Rufty-Holmes is proud to announce a new initiative for events, meetings, and gatherings called the “Red Tablecloth” program. The Red Tablecloth is an education and awareness tool to help build a culture of health where we commit to modeling the healthy behaviors we want to see. We’re starting with “Red Table Tuesday” on Tuesday, October 29 from 9 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. Apples and oranges will be provided to Center participants. Come check us out and drop in for this healthy treat!


Games Aren’t Just For Kids

In 1983, Salisbury/Rowan Senior Games joined North Carolina Senior Games with a vision to create a year-round health promotion and education program for adults of Rowan County age 50 years or better. Today, Salisbury/Rowan Senior Games SilverArts is over 700 seniors strong and growing each year!

Senior Games is a holistic approach to body, mind, and spirit. It allows participants to stay fit while enjoying the company of friends, family, spectators, and volunteers. Just a few of the sports include:  archery, basketball tournament, bocce, cards, corn hole, golf, horseshoes, pickleball, racquetball, softball throw, softball tournament, swimming, tennis, and more!


Here in Rowan County, Senior Games offers a variety of sports including tennis.


My grandmother made sure I included Senior Games because it’s one of her favorite activities! She said she missed last year due to her hip surgery, but is excited for this season. They have both a fall and spring registration for events. Fall registration just passed, but be on the look-out for Senior Games to come back in the Spring of 2020. Registration will be found here.


Senior Games is a holistic approach to body, mind, and spirit.


Services Offered at Trinity Oaks

To round out this blog, I wanted to highlight some other great services in the area.

Teresa Dakins, Community Outreach Coordinator for Trinity at Home, shared that Trinity Oaks will be starting a Matter of Balance of Class on October 1 in partnership with Rufty-Holmes that is open for all. Matter of Balance is an 8-week structured group intervention that emphasizes practical strategies to reduce fear of falling and increase activity levels. Participants learn to view falls and fear of falling as controllable, set realistic goals to increase activity, change their environment to reduce fall risk factors, and exercise to increase strength and balance. Additionally, they offer an Alzheimer’s Support Group the 4th Thursday of the month at 5:30 p.m. at Trinity Oaks where dinner is provided. Finally, they currently have a great class in session called the “Next 56 Days Health and Nutrition” weekly at 6 p.m.!