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Senior Spectrum Newspaper
August 2017
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Senior Spectrum Publications

New Volunteer Projects Promote Senior Health
by Donna Clontz
Chair Reno Senior Citizen Advisory Committee
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Donna Clontz
Donna Clontz

We are so fortunate in Reno and Washoe County that we can visualize a needed service for seniors and then partner with others to make it happen.

For the past several years, the Reno Senior Citizen Advisory Committee has been funded by the Reno City Council to create, support and promote needed services for seniors. Last year, we partnered with two Reno nonprofits---the Center for Healthy Aging and the Truckee Meadows Parks Foundation---to support two Americorps-VISTA volunteers to create a program to provide health resource information to seniors and caregivers. This year, we also got new funding from Washoe County Commissioners Marsha Berkbigler and Bob Lucey and the Reno City Council to support the same two nonprofit partners, and add a third VISTA volunteer to create a new healthy walking program for folks 50-plus. This unique partnership and joint funding will support three full-time college-educated workers for the next 12 months who will focus on two programs to keep our local senior population healthy.

Seniors walking at Valley Wood Park May 2017
Seniors walking at Valley Wood Park May 2017. Photo - Donna Clontz

In 2016, the two VISTA volunteers started the Senior Health Advocate Volunteer (SHAV) program by creating a simple, one-page resource brochure listing free or low-cost resources of elder services in Reno, Sparks and Washoe County. Caregiving, food and nutrition, health care, social services, housing and senior care homes, legal services, recreation and transportation services are listed. Washoe County printed several thousand brochures for us, and when they ran out, Reno Councilman Paul McKenzie got the help of the local Building & Construction Trades union to print another 50,000. These brochures are available at all senior centers and local government offices, senior living spots, and local businesses that support seniors and who have many senior customers. You can also download one at or call 775- 237-8375 to obtain one.

The SHAV program is free to seniors and caregivers. It is currently recruiting more volunteers who receive training to help elders complete an assessment of overall health, needs, and available resources. Working with the advocates, elders can narrow down and choose the services they need such as:

You can volunteer to learn about resources and become a Senior Health Advocate Volunteer by contacting Polly at or calling 775- 237-8443.

Seniors Walking

In July 2017, our third Americorps- VISTA volunteer, Michelle Perry, started designing the Senior Healthy Walking program. She will recruit volunteer leaders for several small walking groups that will meet weekly to walk on easy terrain and track their miles over time. Health tips, weight-bearing activities and incentives for reaching goals would also be offered. Studies have shown that seniors who walk have higher recovery rates, lower risks of falling, and lower chances of incurring mental illness.

The first walking group will meet every Wednesday, starting on August 23, 2017 from 9 to 10 a.m. at Meadowood Mall, 5000 Meadowood Mall Circle, Reno, NV 89502. Snacks and water will be provided at the walk.

We are seeking seniors interested in joining the groups and in becoming volunteer leaders of the groups. Upcoming proposed walk sites are, Damonte Ranch Park, Rancho San Rafael Regional Park, Valley Wood Park, Sparks Marina, Idlewild Park, and Virginia Lake. For more information, to join a group, suggest other walking sites, or to volunteer, please contact Michelle at michelle@addinglifetoyears. com or call 775-391-8120.

We are truly grateful to everyone involved at Center for Healthy Aging, Truckee Meadows Parks Foundation, City of Reno, Washoe County and Americorps-VISTA programs for making our visions a reality. Please contact me at or 775-240- 2745 for further information.