Most of today’s adults 50 and older had grandparents who spent their golden years at a leisurely pace, living out the rest of their lives slowly, cautiously and stereotypically. 

Fast forward to the 21st century, and we are living an average of 34 years longer than our grandparents — nearly half an entire lifespan longer. This is a time of life when doors are thrown open, new adventures beckon and older adults step outside their comfort zones to operate within a new normal: we strive for fitness, seek out new experiences and recognize our potential for living long, healthy, active lives. It is a powerful feeling!

The results of this paradigm shift are undeniable. Today’s senior citizens, or older adults, see significant improvements in their physical, social, spiritual, emotional, mental and even economic well-being when they meet new people with similar interests, try new activities and classes, and stay joyful. This translates directly to managing and/or delaying the onset of chronic diseases that used to go hand-in-hand with growing older.

Every minute we lived before turning 50 prepared us for life after 50. This stage of life has its own unique significance and is as different from mid-life as young adults are different than toddlers.

Whether you are a millennial, baby boomer or member of the greatest generation, if you are 50 or older but don’t consider yourself old enough to attend the Pasadena Conference on Healthy Aging, allow me to convince you to attend.

There will be something for everyone, with workshop topics ranging from medical marijuana to senior cyber safety, along with the latest updates on Medicare, financial security, caregiver support and more. There also will be health screenings, demonstrations of Zumba Gold and other group exercises, and an exhibitor hall where you will learn about resources in the greater Pasadena community you may not know ever existed for older adults.

I hope to see you at the conference Saturday, April 28, from 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on the campus of First Church of the Nazarene of Pasadena, 3700 E. Sierra Madre Blvd.

The Pasadena Conference on Healthy Aging provides a snapshot of sorts of the free and low-cost programs and services offered by the Pasadena Senior Center. This isn’t your grandmother’s senior center, where bingo and shuffleboard were de rigueur. Older adults who want to improve or maintain their health, enjoy active lifestyles and attend social events will find all that and more at the Pasadena Senior Center, where people from 50 to 90-plus keep the joint jumping! We’re even open longer hours on weekdays and weekends for older adults who have not retired from the workplace. Of course, services are also offered for frail, low-income and homebound older adults.

The Pasadena Senior Games are a perfect example of the wide range of older adults in today’s world who aren’t even close to being ready for the rocking chair. Among the many athletes who took first place in their sporting events in 2017 were William Kennedy in the men’s 100-meter dash in the 85-to-89-year-old division, and Diana Charles in the women’s 50-meter backstroke in the 50-to-54-year-old division.

This year the Pasadena Senior Games are scheduled from May 5 to June 24 at athletic venues throughout the greater Los Angeles area, and the field is wide open from archery to volleyball. First-place winners will go on to compete at the National Senior Games in Albuquerque, New Mexico next year.

You can find details about the Pasadena Conference on Healthy Aging and the Pasadena Senior Games at or by calling (626) 795-4331.

Let us all embrace our future with a zest for life and step into this phase of our journey with purpose and joy.

Akila Gibbs is the executive director of the Pasadena Senior Center.