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Making the golden years golden



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SALT LAKE CITY — The Time Steppers perform their high energy, tap dancing program all along the Wasatch Front, but mostly at senior centers.

These dancers are not letting their age stand in their way of performing. They age 57 to 81-years old. They find themselves actually stopping time and staying young.

Founder, Karen Catten, said, "It keeps you heart healthy." She also said, "If you look at the list of things how to thwart off Alzheimer's, dance is at the top of the list because it gives you the physiological, psychological, the social. It keeps your neurons firing."

Peggy Thomas, who just turned 80, keeps her brain active volunteering as a hospital greeter twice a week. "It's just meeting people and talking to them and helping them," Thomas said. "I like that."

Intermountain Southridge Clinic geriatric Dr. John Lassere said staying active and volunteering are just part of the equation to growing old and staying healthy. "Getting older creeps up on you," said Lassere. "We plan financially for retirement, a lot of people do that, but we don't plan for functional decline."

Lassere suggests a plan that should include the following:

  • Incorporating teamwork and asking for help when you need it from friends and family
  • Tapping into community resources
  • Finding a healthcare team that helps preserve function and not just curing disease
  • Focusing on your quality of life, not just quantity (your age)
"You need to wake up in the morning and consciously choose to be happy," Lassere said. "You get the golden years more golden when you choose to be happy."

But most importantly, just keep moving. "Everyone can do something," said Lassere. "It doesn't have to be fancy."

Unless you are a Time Stepper. They take their taping to a whole new level with costumes, singing and dancing. They practice at the Riverton Senior Center four times a week and they are always looking for new dancers.

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Your Life - Your HealthUtah
Erin Goff

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