For nearly 20 years, Beth Stranges' career with Chemung County has included roles such as Social Welfare Examiner/Senior Examiner, Caseworker, and Director of Temporary Assistance. She assumed her leadership role with the Department of Aging and Long-Term Care in May 2021. In this edition of 5 Questions, she talks about the Chemung County Senior Games slated for May 23 to June 16, 2023.
You’ve been with Chemung County for a long time and assumed the role of director just about two years ago. As a “new” director, can you share your thoughts about the importance of connecting your community to a statewide audience for the Senior Games?
There are only a handful of counties that offer this opportunity in New York. It is vital that, as we age, we stay active. Offering this opportunity to adults who are 50+ allows residents to learn about the Department of Aging and Long-Term Care through participation in the Senior Games. This is extremely helpful when individuals are looking for programs or support as situations arise in the community.
What’s new in 2023?
This year I am conducting an Employer Challenge, which asks our local employers to encourage their employees who are 50+ to sign up and participate in our Senior Games or field day events. We hope to educate our employers about the Department of Aging and Long-Term Care services. This sharing of information and fun with community partners/employers allows for relationship building between local employees and the local Department of Aging and NY Connects staff.
How does the Chemung County Senior Games get “put together?” Please give us a sense of the effort that it takes to do this.
We have a program assistant, Carol Morton, who begins working on the next year's games as soon as the current games are finished. She has been involved with these games for the last ten years and often provides insight into what has worked well or what we can do differently. We have been so fortunate over the past 32 years to have a very dedicated Senior Games Volunteer Committee meeting regularly throughout the year. Many hours are spent in the planning phases for the design of the t-shirts, securing countywide venues, and coordinating the games. The goal is to make the games fun, inclusive for all, and a means to provide information on healthy aging. We have tremendous support and help with the details to make it happen.
How many members are on the Senior Games Committee?
We have a very committed group; 16 committee members help to put these games to fruition each year. We have individuals of all ages who assist to make these games successful. Some of our committee members served and played these games well into their 90s.
How many people compete in the games? Where do people register?
We typically have a large turnout for Senior Games, which averages about 450 athletes yearly. Senior Games information and updates can be found by visiting the Department of Aging and Long Term Care FB page, or by visiting Aging & Long Term Care | Chemung County, NY (chemungcountyny.gov), select Senior Games from the links on the left.