A Place to Add Years to Your Life and Life to Your Years

There is one big question each of us has. That is . . .

. . . How Long Will I Live?

 That is always in the back of our minds and none of us has the answer to that. If you’re like me, you probably have an age that you would like to live to in the back of your mind. However, you are never sure you will live that long.

Each one of us wants to be as healthy as possible for as long as possible. If we could have our way, we would be healthy right up to the time we take our very last breath. That way we would have the greatest chance of enjoying life fully and not being a burden on anyone.

 Some time ago the Harvard Medical School published an article with tips for living a longer life. You can click here to read it. In that article, they listed these actions you and I can take to live a healthier life:

  1. Don’t smoke.
  2. Enjoy physical and mental activities every day.
  3. Eat a healthy diet rich in whole grains, vegetables, and fruits, and substitute healthier monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats for unhealthy saturated fats and trans fats.
  4. Take a daily multivitamin, and be sure to get enough calcium and vitamin D.
  5. Maintain a healthy weight and body shape.
  6. Challenge your mind. Keep learning and trying new activities.
  7. Build a strong social network.
  8. Follow preventive care and screening guidelines.
  9. Floss, brush, and see a dentist regularly.
  10. Ask your doctor if medication can help you control the potential long-term side effects of chronic conditions such as high blood pressure, osteoporosis, or high cholesterol.

I am sure most of the actions on this list don’t surprise you. Have you ever thought of any places you can go to satisfy a lot of them?

One local place stands out – the John T O’Connor Senior Center. Many programs are offered at the center which will help you live a healthier life. Here are some.

 Healthy Diet

As you age, the chances of you living by yourself increase. You just may outlive those you are presently living with.

None of us wants that to happen but there is a strong possibility it will.

 People who live by themselves don’t like to eat alone. They have a tendency to make quick meals – meals which are not always healthy or nutritious for them.

 Every day from Monday through Friday you can get a nutritious lunch at the O’Connor Center. The suggested donation is only $2 for those 60 plus and $5 for those under 60. For those who cannot afford the cost, special arrangements are made.

Every time you stop by the Center for lunch, you can be sure of having at least one healthy meal that day. So why not stop by and have a meal which is good for you?

Physical Activities

Are you exercising enough on a regular basis or are you like me and sort of fudge on this? You know what you’re supposed to do but you always say you’ll get to it tomorrow.

There are a wide range of activities offered at the O’Connor Center which can help you here.

On Tuesday and Thursday mornings from May until October, you can play softball at the Caswell Park softball fields.  This is slow pitch, the competition is relaxed and everyone gets to play one inning. Women 55 and older can play.  Men have to be at least 60.

On Thursdays, the Happy Hikers typically hike a trail in a state park or the Great Smoky National Park.  Each hike varies in length from 4 to 8 miles.

If you want to hike but are interested in one not as strenuous, you may want to check out the Thursday Walkers. This group walks at local parks and greenways.

At the Center itself, you can take part in classes in Advanced Senior Cardio, Sail, Arthritis exercise and Tai Chi.

The center also offers Yoga and and Water Aerobics at the Cansler Family YMCA.

Here is a way you can cheat a little bit on exercise and have some fun.  Consider Line Dancing as exercise. After all you are using the muscles in your legs and hips. Sign up for these classes.

Challenge Your Mind

There are a wide range of activities at the Center to keep your mind active and brain sharp.

The first is Brain games. Here you will be answering questions similar to those in Jeopardy and Trivial Pursuit.

 You also can play bridge or chess. If you’re more of a gambling person, you can check out Texas Hold’em.

There also is cribbage and other board games. Another way to keep your mind active is to work on jigsaw puzzles.

Ever thought about learning a second language? There are classes for that.

You also can attend lectures on a variety of subjects When you attend these, you not only will get to learn something new, you will probably be thinking about something you hadn’t before.

 Your Social Network

 As we age, we start to see our friends moving away. Some pass away.  At some point, even our spouse may die. We end up at home all by ourselves with no one to spend time with and talk to. Loneliness sets in. Depression can follow that.

When taking part at the activities at O’Connor and attending the lectures, you always have the opportunity to meet many different people and create new friends. You can get to know them well and even spend time with them away from O’Connor. There is less chance you will be lonely.

 No Charge for Many of the Activities

 You won’t have to pay a fee to take part in many of the activities and events at the center.  Where there is a charge, it is minimal.

Address and Hours

 The O’Connor Center is located at 611 Winona St. in Knoxville.

It is open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. It is closed on holidays.  Special events are frequently held there at night and on the weekend.

Check it Out

O’Connor prides itself as being a place where you can add years to your life and life to your years.

If you have never been there and were unaware of what it offers, please drop by. Walk around and check it out.

If you already have participated in some of the activities at the Center, you may not have been aware of others that may be of interest. Check those out.

You can check the calendar of activities and events that is published in Elder News & Views by clicking here. The calendars are usually featured on pages 6 and 7. You can also keep abreast of activities and events by following the O’Connor Facebook page. The calendar is also part of Senior Update, published on the first and third Sundays of the month in the News Sentinel.

You will benefit from everything you get involved with at the Center.  A side benefit is you will be much healthier, physically and mentally.

Living to that age you have in the back of your mind will be much easier. You may even live longer than you imagined.


If you have any comments on what you have read in this post, please email them to me. Also – if you have any ideas about subjects you would like to see discussed in future posts, please send me an email and let me know. My email address is bob.ooablog@gmail.com.