Social Engagement, Sense of Purpose the Ingredients to Longer Lives

Linda Hong and her students at the OMI Senior Center’s digital literacy training. Judy Goddess/Ingleside-Excelsior Light

The 21st IAGG World Congress of Gerontology & Geriatrics met in San Francisco this summer. While some presentations were of interest primarily to researchers, others were more immediately relevant. Many sessions emphasized the importance of social engagement, exercise, volunteering and having a sense of purpose. Research by AARP noted that seniors with a more positive perception of aging were more likely to exercise and take better care of themselves: activities that contribute an average of seven years to their lives.

Writing this column is one of the things I do to gain a sense of purpose. Where do you get your sense of purpose? I’d love to hear from you. Email me at

Cayuga Community Connectors: Meetings are held at the Bethel Center, 2525 Alemany at Ottawa;

Diabetes Education Empowerment Program: Thursdays, 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. Oct. 5 – Nov. 9. 25 percent of all seniors are either diabetic or pre-diabetic. DEEP strives to create support groups to encourage problem solving and the formation of new habits. DEEP has received numerous positive evaluations. The series is free and open to all.

Healthier Living: Thursdays, 10 a.m. – 12 p.m., Nov. 16 – Dec. 21. This series is for anyone diagnosed with an ongoing health condition that affects their quality of life: arthritis, stroke, high blood pressure, cancer, depression, etc. Proven results include day-to-day improvements in participants’ health care and the development of skills to better manage your health and work effectively with health care providers. The series is free; caregivers and family members welcome. Both programs are co-sponsored by 30th Street Senior Center. Call Patti Spaniak to preregister at (646) 409-7775.

I.T. Bookman Center: 446 Randolph St. Aging While Black Forum: Life Care Planning. This annual lunch and speaker event will be held on Friday, September 29, 11:30 – 1:30 p.m. Presenters include Financial Advisor Charles Clerky, and Veronica Sherpard of the Healthy Hearts Initiative. This is a free event; arrive early for seating. For additional information, call Deb Glen (415) 845-7717.

Free Health Screening: Thursday, Oct. 5, 1 – 3 p.m. Screenings for hearing and vision; health risk assessments, health education, BMI, glucose and cholesterol assessments and referrals and support. Pre-register with Joyce at (415) 586-8020 or sign up at the center.

Computer Training: every weekday morning from 9:30 a.m. – 12 p.m. A special Computer and Internet Intensive Workshop began in August and continues through Sept. 22. You can join anytime. This workshop meets Fridays at 11 a.m. OMI Senior Center: 65 Beverly St.;

Digital Literacy Training in Chinese: every morning. Dance & exercise classes throughout the day; English classes several days a week; games and trips. Lunch is served every day at 11:30.

OMI Health & Wellness Fair: On Saturday, Sept. 16, 11 a.m. – 2 p.m., at Ward Recreation Center, 650 Capitol Ave. Health screenings, workshops on community resources and a children’s play area. This free community event is presented by the OMI Community Collaborative in partnership with the City and County of San Francisco and Catholic Charities Aging Support Services.

Legacy Film Festival on Aging: celebrates the aging process as profound and meaningful, often challenging, and sometimes sad. Sheila Malkind, director of the Festival, and her film review  crew have chosen films that portray some of the many facets of aging, from loneliness and loss to joy and discovery. The Festival runs from Sept. 15–17 at the New People Cinema, 1746 Post St. in Japantown. 29 shorts, documentaries and full-length films, both local and international, will be screened in the two-and-a-half day festival. Some of the films are produced by local filmmakers, who will present a Q&A after their film. Tickets may be purchased at the door or at

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