Heartland of Story County is changing the vision of aging with the Sixty Forward initiative. In today’s culture, age is truly just a number, and the aging process is unique to everyone. The reality is that as people enter their 60s, 70s, and 80s, they want to stay active and engaged with others. They want a wider variety of options to help them stay healthy and feel their best. They want easy access and supportive services when health issues arise.
The driving mission of Heartland has always been to enrich and support the health and quality-of-life as people age. In recognizing the need to shift how we think and talk about aging well, they have identified the need to reimagine the programs, services, and activities offered.
Sixty Forward is a collaboration with Heartland of Story County, Mary Greeley Medical Center (MGMC), and the City of Ames Department of Parks and Recreation. Together, it is a community-wide programmatic model that connects those 60+ to opportunities that include physical activities, social networks, and wellness offerings. The program will launch in early 2024, aligning with the opening of a new 15,000 square foot facility.
Through a new unified Sixty Forward website, the partnership will allow participants to seamlessly access programs and services for those 60+ that utilize existing recreational facilities in Ames and through Story County. For example, there will be a Sixty Forward golf league at Homewood Golf Course, aqua exercise classes at the Furman Aquatic Center, and pickleball leagues offered through Ames Parks & Recreation.
By utilizing community facilities and the expertise of each entities’ staff to lead programs, Sixty Forward will support those 60+ on their journey to aging well. Collectively, programs, activities, and services will be provided in the areas of physical activity, social networks, health and nutrition.
At the Sixty Forward Center, MGMC staff will offer nutrition, wellness, and health classes. Parks and Recreation will offer aerobics, yoga, Silver Sneakers, Tai Chi, and more, while Heartland will continue to provide meaningful educational offerings, Adult Day services and social activities.
In January 2022, Heartland partnered with 10Fold Architecture + Engineering to develop the state-of-the-art Sixty Forward Center facility. Harold Pike Construction of Ames began earthwork in September 2022 with construction beginning in the spring of 2023.
The Sixty Forward Center has been made possible through private gifts that total over $9.5 million. The Story County Board of Supervisors awarded Heartland $300,000 toward this project from Federal ARPA funding. The City of Ames is leasing the land to Heartland for $1 per year.
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About the Ames Chamber
Centrally and conveniently located in the heart of the Midwest and Iowa, Ames is known for its healthy, stable economy, flourishing cultural environment, and the world-renowned Iowa State University.
With over 700 members, the Ames Chamber of Commerce strives to make Ames a better place to live, work, and do business by strengthening the economic vitality and the quality of life in the Ames community.