Community Packs Recent Age Well DuPage Event

Age Well DuPage

By Mike McKissack

The second annual “Age Well DuPage: Renew; Recharge; Reinvent” event recently attracted 425 community members to the College of DuPage campus in Glen Ellyn as they celebrated wellness in mind, body and spirit in the second half of life.

Click here for photos from this event.

College of DuPage and DuPage County Senior Services partnered for the free event, which was cosponsored by Walgreens and MB Financial. Representatives from the College of DuPage Continuing Education as well as several DuPage County departments, including DuPage County Community Services, DuPage County Senior Services and DuPage Veterans Assistance Commission, were on hand to provide information and answer questions. Participants enjoyed breakout sessions on a broad range of topics such as gardening, housing options for seniors, job searches for older workers, Medicare, Social Security, Tai Chi and volunteerism.

In addition, a number of local and national organizations, including Cigna HealthSpring, Ecumenical Support Services, MB Financial and Walgreens provided information and products. Media sponsors included the Daily Herald and WDCB 90.9FM. Refreshments during the fair were provided by The Fresh Market and Waterleaf Restaurant.

Aligned with Money Smart Week and with a special focus on financial literacy, this year’s event featured a keynote presentation by Christine Benz, Director of Personal Finance for Morningstar, Inc. and senior columnist for Morningstar.com. During her presentation, Benz listed key financial challenges facing retirees now and offered solutions designed to promote financial security for seniors.

Following her presentation, Benz said that the Age Well DuPage event was a great opportunity to build financial literacy in the community but that the fair went well beyond that.

“There is a big connection between financial well-being and physical and mental well-being,” Benz said. “This event also confronts the challenges facing our older population in a very holistic way. It’s not just limited to finances and investments.”

The fair comprised a broad range of ages and reasons for attending. Many were there to gain insight into financial planning that focused on the challenges experienced by people as they reached retirement age. Lisle resident Julien Garden, who takes enrichment classes at the College along with his wife, Mary, was most interested in the information on financial planning.

“The keynote presentation was very informative,” said Garden. “I’ve been doing a lot of my own research, but it was validating to hear the information from an expert.”

The fair took place in the Homeland Security Education Center. The three-year-old facility and the additional renovation and expansion of the Glen Ellyn campus also left a positive impression on attendees, such as Naperville resident Chuck Davidson.

“Though I live nearby and my wife has taken classes here in the past, I wasn’t aware of how much it’s changed. I was impressed,” Davidson said. “Today’s event showed us that there is a great resource here that we should be taking more advantage of.”

Davidson added that he attended the fair in search of information and support to ease the transition to retirement.

“I’m still working at 70 years of age and financially we’re doing fine,” he said. “What I’m really in search of is a way to deal with the psychological aspects of walking away from a way of life.”

According to Tom Brady, Associate Dean/Director of Continuing Education and the Homeland Security Training Institute, the fair also offered community members a close-up view of the work the College is doing through the center to provide top-notch first responder training.

“This event not only helps people with resources and information about crucial issues facing aging adults, it was also a great opportunity for the community to become acquainted with our new facilities and learn about the programs that have put the College at the forefront of first responder training in the Midwest,” he said.

Continuing Education Program Coordinator for Lifelong Learning Melissa Fanella said she was pleased with the fair and the increased turnout to this year’s event.

“We are so excited to be able to provide this resource for members of the community,” Fanella said. “This year’s turnout, and the fact that the keynote presentation and every breakout session have been completely filled to the brim with participants, validates that we’re providing the community with a resource that is helpful and very much in demand.”

In addition to life-enriching educational opportunities, College of DuPage Continuing Education offers a variety of programs to lifelong learners in the area, such as free Lunch Break Lectures and special tuition discounts for adults 55 and older. In addition, College of DuPage was recently chosen to join the American Association of Community Colleges-sponsored Plus 50 Encore Completion Program, a national effort initiated to retrain workers who are 50 years or older for new jobs in health care, education and social services.

Click here for more information about Lifelong Learning at College of DuPage, call (630) 942-2208 or email CE@cod.edu.

DuPage County Senior Services provides residents, aged 60 and older, with a number of programs and services designed to facilitate healthy aging. It is funded through the Illinois Department on Aging and the Northeastern Illinois Area Agency on Aging to serve as the Case Coordination Unit for DuPage County. This unit publishes the “Age Well DuPage” senior resource directory, the Long-Term Facilities Directory and the Senior Housing Directory.

Click here for more information about DuPage County Senior Services.

Photo caption: Christine Benz, Director of Personal Finance for Morningstar, Inc., speaks with a participant during the Age Well event. (Photo by Press Photography Network/Special to College of DuPage)