For the third consecutive year, the Institute for Sustainable Health & Optimal Aging at the University of Louisville is hosting Optimal Aging Month in September. The events during Optimal Aging Month are aimed at inspiring and encouraging people to learn about the concept of optimal aging, which is a new understanding of aging in which people flourish physically, socially and emotionally from birth to death in compassionate intergenerational communities.

Optimal Aging Month is part of national Healthy Aging Month, and a variety of events are scheduled to encourage people to consider how to optimally age and how the community can assist in optimal aging. Programming will occur at various locations on UofL’s Health Sciences Center and Belknap campuses, as well as in the larger community.

This year’s theme is “Spreading Compassion Across Generations.” 

“Our goal this year is to dispel myths and stereotypes about different age groups,” says Anna Faul, PhD, executive director of the institute. “Spreading compassion between age groups will build intergenerational bonds that combat ageist stereotypes and bridge generational gaps.”

The month also features two honorary Optimal Aging Catalysts — Hall of Fame basketball player Darrell Griffith, also known as “Dr. Dunkenstein,” and Hall of Fame former UofL basketball coach Denny Crum. Griffith and Crum will be present throughout the month at various events to spread awareness about optimal aging.

“Optimal Aging is the passion and drive to be your best self at every phase of life,” said Griffith.

Crum said that “Optimal Aging means you never stop building your legacy.”

Some of the events sponsored by the institute include the annual Gold Standard Award for Optimal Aging Award Luncheon on Sept. 8, an advocacy day on Sept. 15, and two Lightning Rounds speakers series presentations Sept. 20 (Belknap) and Sept. 28 (HSC). The latter event will include four interactive presentations on mind, body, spirit and soul interventions to help people age optimally.

Several surrounding counties also will participate in Optimal Aging Month by hosting the following community walks on Sept. 16: Bullitt, Henry, Metcalfe, Shelby, Spencer and Trimble. Walkers will compete in appropriate age groups, as well as in a friendly county-to-county contest. More information on the county walks is available online.

Other community events include the Alzheimer’s Association Walk to End Alzheimer’s on Sept. 10 in Louisville; and the Kentuckiana Regional Planning and Development Agency (KIPDA) Centenarian Celebration and an Alzheimer’s simulation in Barren County, both on Sept 21.

Some events include a meal or refreshments and have a registration fee. For complete details and to register, visit the Optimal Aging Month website.

During September, the Institute for Sustainable Health and Optimal Aging is encouraging people to perform intergenerational acts of kindness and to share their stories at @ULOptimalAging or by using the hashtag #OptimalAgingMonth.

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Jill Scoggins is proud of her role as an academic communications professional with more than 25 years’ experience with universities in four states. At UofL, she manages communications for several departments, divisions, institutes and centers within the School of Medicine. Her areas include women’s health, pediatrics, family medicine, geriatric medicine, cardiology and cardiovascular surgery and oncology/hematology, among others.