By Crystal Simmons
There’s plenty to love about turning 50 – discounts, more time with family and friends, and financial stability – but being called a senior citizen usually isn’t one of them.
Adults are living longer, healthier lives. Attitudes about aging are also shifting as people over 50 seek to redefine what it means to age.
These changes haven’t gone unnoticed in Harris County Precinct 4. Jan Sexton, director of Precinct 4 Encore!, has worked to modernize the precinct’s program for those over 50 for years.
Most recently, Sexton won approval from Commissioner R. Jack Cagle to change the name of the program from Precinct 4’s Senior Adult Program to Precinct 4 Encore!. Despite the name change, she said, Encore! will continue to provide activities, volunteer opportunities, and day trips to adults above 50, just as Precinct 4’s Senior Adult Program has done for the past 27 years.
“We don’t want to call our participants anything other than adults,” said Sexton. “We wish to focus on new ways to serve this growing population who challenge conventional thinking about aging and seek to discover and rediscover purposeful ways to make a difference throughout their lives.”
The changes come after a 2014 demographic study found that not only were Precinct 4 residents above 50 healthier and more youthful, but they craved new programs to fit their lifestyle.
“We began tailoring our programs several years ago to respond to this stage of life that included more active day trips and volunteer opportunities,” said Sexton. “We recognized that these adults are active, healthy, skilled, knowledgeable, and wise. So we combined educational and recreational opportunities with service to create social impact – which, in turn, creates purposeful lives.”
To learn more about Encore!, visit www.hcp4.net/encore/.