Today’s seniors are just not what they used to be. In fact, we probably need to come up with a different name for those over 55.
For example, last year the Roundup had an article on Dale and Margaret Thoen who, in their 70s skydived for the first time; then there is the Payson Packers hiking club that boasts a huge number of participants that are all over 55.
The Senior Circle Zumba class is a huge success with more than 116 participants attending on a monthly basis. Zumba is the latest fitness craze and has swept the nation in health clubs everywhere. It was originally thought to be a “young” person’s exercise routine, but has become so popular that the program has transitioned into the senior market as well.
Patty Peterson, age 63, is another one of those remarkable seniors that defies the label “senior.” Peterson was discovered early one morning sitting on the wall of the parking lot at the Senior Circle in her gym shorts and running shoes. There wasn’t a single car in the parking lot, so she had not arrived by car, but had simply been out on her morning run from Star Valley to Payson.
She was in training for her next relay. Peterson actively participates in relay races across the country. She just completed her fourth Ragnar Relay last year. The concept of the Ragnar Relays is to take a team of 12 people in two vans and follow a route approximately 200 miles over a 24-hour period. Each person runs three legs with varying lengths. Peterson usually runs as runner two in each race.
Her last event took place in Florida where she ran just over 15 miles. The group started in Miami and ran in turns to Key West, Fla. Peterson’s personal route took her over the Rickenbacker Causeway onto a 5.3-mile stretch through a pretty area of Miami. Her next leg was at 8 p.m. and in the Everglades along a canal. This stretch was 4.7 miles and she shares that she ran as fast as she could because of the creatures she new were in the water. Finally, her last leg of 5.4 was over a series of four bridges connecting Key Islands south of Key Largo.
Ragnar races, such as this one, raise money for local charities. Peterson’s last race in Florida raised money for the Multiple Sclerosis Society.
Senior Circle has hit a record high with its membership now over 2,000. Last month the Senior Circle had 2,010 members on its rolls. Dee Land was the 2,000th active member that was entered in to the Payson Senior Circle database. She became a member of Senior Circle on Jan. 25, putting the local membership over the top.
The Senior Circle was started in Payson in 1999. The first two members who enrolled that year were Richard and Marlene Holt on April 29. The Holts are still members of the Circle.
The Senior Circle is a Payson Regional Medical Center outreach program designed to enrich the lives of residents over the age of 50 by providing health-related events and activities to the community. Each month a local doctor affiliated with the hospital or a
department head of the hospital speaks at the member Lunch and Learn program.
Recently the hospital hired several new doctors, including a general surgeon and family practitioner. These doctors will be featured in the next newsletter and will be speaking at upcoming Lunch and Learns.
Senior Circle Associations are located all over the United States and are typically associated with smaller rural hospitals. The Payson chapter of Senior Circle maintains one of the highest memberships of all the Senior Circles in the country, yet is one of the smallest populations that participate in the program. The membership has a market penetration of approximately 19 percent of age appropriate residents. That means Payson has one of the most active senior populations in the country.