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Beckley: Recreation is 'booming' in Downers Grove

Published: Thursday, Sept. 26, 2013 2:06 p.m. CDT • Updated: Tuesday, July 29, 2014 9:55 p.m. CDT
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Brandi Beckley

The median age of the United States’ population is rising.

For the first time in recorded history, people ages 65 and older will outnumber children younger than age five before 2020, and 25 percent of the population will be older than age 65 by 2030.

The 2010 US Census indicated 16 percent of Downers Grove’s population is over age 65, up from 14 percent in 2000. 

The Baby Boomer generation, born between 1946 and 1964, began turning 65 in 2011.

Because Boomers in general have a high education level, they continue to pursue continuing education as adults and into retirement, often turning to their local recreation or senior centers for offerings. Research indicates as Boomers enter retirement, they are looking for a customized experience to cater to their need for self‐fulfillment, healthy pleasure, nostalgic youthfulness, and individual escapes.

Cori Veverka, Recreation Supervisor for the Downers Grove Park District, is in charge of the Active Adult Center.

She said from her recent evaluations, its users and those of other local senior centers mostly are interested in staying physically active, embracing technology and continuing to contribute in a meaningful way.  

To meet the recreational needs of this growing active adult community, Downers Grove Park District has responded.

The Active Adult Center currently offers programming for ages 55 and up, including a Walking Club that meets every Thursday morning in the summer to socialize and walk in different community parks.

The Craft Club meets once a week to make various projects. This year, the Club plans to make items that can be donated to different organizations such as cage blankets for animal shelters or hats and booties for local hospitals.

There also are many weekly or monthly groups that meet to play various games including bridge, bunco, pokeno, rummikub, bingo, dominoes and poker. 

Starting in 2014, the Active Adult Center will host an active book club that will read a book, discuss it and go on an outing that is related to an element of the book.

The Center will also offer classes for active adults to learn how to use iPads, from a basic device introduction to specific sets of applications (social networking, face-to-face chatting, or games). 

For those interested in travel, the park district offers many trips throughout the year from local theater productions, casinos and athletic events to extended opportunities such as Las Vegas, New England, China and India. 

Veverka said she still is in the process of evaluating the needs and interests of the active adult community in Downers Grove and encourages and appreciates feedback and suggestions.

To learn about the programs and services at the Active Adult Center, visit dgparks.org or sign up to receive its free quarterly newsletter Connections. Contact Cori Veverka at the Active Adult Center at 630-963-1300 or cveverka@dgparks.org.

Brandi Beckley is the external affairs manager for the Downers Grove Park District.

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