Remember the NSGA on #GivingTuesday
#GivingTuesday is held annually on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving and the Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping events. This year, Tuesday, December 3 is the global day of giving that harnesses the collective power of individuals, communities and organizations to encourage philanthropy and to help celebrate generosity worldwide.
As you make your charitable decisions to close out 2019, please consider the National Senior Games Association as one of your places to donate. To do this you can visit us at NSGA.com/donate to make your tax deductible donation.
We are extremely humbled by the many athletes and supporters who feel moved to donate to NSGA each and every year. Once again, THANK YOU!
2019 Games Earn Economic Impact Award
We are pleased to announce that Sports Destination Management, a leading publication with the largest circulation of sports event planners and tournament directors in the sports tourism industry, has named the 2019 National Senior Games presented by Humana as one of their 2019 “Champions of Economic Impact in Sports Tourism.”
The Games were recognized for generating 24,000 hotel nights and $34 million in economic impact for the host region. Both NSGA and the City of Albuquerque organizing committee were named as co-recipients of the recognition, and it is also the National Senior Game’s second Economic Impact Award in the six years the awards have been given. “Since we only host our national games every two years, it’s outstanding to be recognized in both 2017 and 2019,” NSGA CEO Marc T. Riker commented. “We are thrilled that our local host partners can share this award with us. Their performance in supporting the event was a best-case practice for other hosts to study to ensure future success.”
“This year’s nominations were incredible,” said Publisher Scott Swoger. “We were amazed not just by the sheer volume of events, but by the scope. Events nominated represented not just the traditional tournaments but emerging sports, showing us that this industry is continuing its evolution.” You can read about the awards here.
November Dates are Set for 2021 National Senior Games
After extensive research and consideration, dates for the 2021 National Senior Games presented by Humana in Greater Fort Lauderdale have been determined. Mark your calendars for November 5– 18, 2021.
Hosting Nationals in the fall is unusual but not unprecedented as the 1999 National Senior Games were held in October in Orlando. The local host committee has been working closely with NSGA staff and all agreed that the best option to hold The Games would be late fall. Availability of venues, hotel rates, convention space and seasonal weather were among the many factors considered. “We always look for the optimum circumstances to provide for the best athlete experience, and for the community to put its best foot forward,” commented NSGA CEO Marc T. Riker. “This time, all signs pointed to this later schedule and we are all excited with the plans we are making.”
2019 Results Book is Now Online; Top Ten Performances Updated
Last month all participating athletes received a copy of the 2019 Results Book in the mail. Now, a final version is now available at NSGA.com by clicking on this link.
In addition, the NSGA Top Ten Performances section has also been completed and ready for view on our Results and Records Page. Congratulations to our elite athletes who have etched their names into our all-time records, and to all who are reaping the benefits from being active in the Senior Games Movement!
NSGA Rule Book Ready as 2020 Qualifying Nears
The road to Greater Fort Lauderdale in 2021 begins with qualifying at one of 53 Member Games being held around the country (and Canada) in 2020. While many of our qualifying Games are still confirming their event dates, several are already set. Arizona leads the way with registration now open for the first qualifying games of the year with events throughout the month of February. Please refer to the State Information Page for current information and contacts for each state.
In addition, the NSGA Rule Book is updated with current sport and qualifying information. Athletes will find answers to almost all of their general and sport-specific qualifying and rules questions in this book.
November Athlete of the Month
Kneed for Speed
Kathy Meares,72, has never needed to be told to go out and play, and her youth was filled with sports. Growing up before Title IX, the Louisiana native did not have the opportunity to earn an athletic scholarship, but she avidly competed in intramural volleyball and softball at LSU and transitioned to tennis, racquetball and recreational running as an adult.
Then came the knee problems, beginning with a 1966 injury that happened when she was a camp counselor. “We had a limbo contest and I won the prize – a torn cartilage,” she recalls. At the age of 20 she had meniscectomy of the right knee. She was only 36 when she needed her first knee replacement and has undergone eleven surgical procedures through 2001, including two more right knee replacements and a new left knee.
Kathy was devastated when her doctor advised that she would not be able to run anymore. “It was like the end of my world,” she says. “My doctor felt so bad that he couldn’t do more for me at the time. He went to many conferences circulating my X-rays around in hopes of finding other alternative treatments but was told he had done the best he could do for me. He told me that I could not run, but I could walk at a very slow pace, like a 22-minute mile.”
She then adds, “But he put the hardware in; I just had to make it work.”
Determined to keep moving, Kathy continued daily walks and gradually increased her stamina and competitive drive until she could pace a mile in less than twelve minutes, which led to walking 5Ks and half marathons. Then, in 2016 a friend from the school where she had been a teacher and administrator told her about Power Walk being introduced as a competitive sport in the National Senior Games. “I didn’t even know what power walk was. My friend told me, ‘You just walk fast – go do it!’”
Kathy had found her senior sport, and the effort was rewarded this year in Albuquerque with a gold medal in the women’s 70-74 1500-meter Power Walk at the 2019 National Senior Games presented by Humana. She also crossed the line first in the 5K distance race but was disqualified. “I have to keep a slight bend in one knee that sometimes catches. That’s maybe why they thought I was running. But I’m working on my technique to try to learn the correct form,” she says. “But everything has a reason and I had an overwhelming experience. It was so much fun and there was true sportsmanship. There’s just a feeling about it that I can’t put into words.”
Another unexpected honor came when Kathy selected as one of the 2019 Humana Game Changers, and then treated to a special photo session by famed photographer Ted Tadder. “That was as big an honor as winning a medal,” she gushed. “I also was interviewed by Growing Bolder TV, so that was a real high for me.”
Kathy has inspired her four children to compete in marathons and triathlons, and eleven grands are now also active in track and field, cross country, soccer and football. But the person who is most astounded by her power walking success is her doctor. “He used to grip his chest and joke he was having the big one when I did more than he expected I could do,” she says with a laugh. “When I emailed a photo of me on the medal stand, he said he was truly amazed and proud of my success.”
We want to hear more great stories! To submit yours, or to nominate a fellow athlete who inspires you, Please Click Here.
Senior Health and Wellness
NSGA Brings Pickleball to ICAA Convention
NSGA pursues collaborative partnerships with like-minded organizations dedicated to the health and well-being of seniors, and one of them is the International Council on Active Aging (ICAA), an association that leads, connects and defines the active-aging industry, and supports organizations and professionals that develop wellness environments and services for adults over 50.
Last month, ICAA’s international convention was held at the Gaylord Palms Resort in Orlando, and NSGA Health and Wellness Director Andrew Walker organized a pickleball demonstration featuring National Senior Games and USA Pickleball players that drew a lot of attention. “ICAA reached out to us because they view pickleball as a fun, easy sport for a lot of people to take up quickly,” Walker notes. “Demonstrating the sport is a great way to promote active aging.”
In the photo are (L-R) Bob Kraus, Marcus Bock, Diane Bock, Andrew Walker, Erica Gonzalez, Gary Miller and Dick Pastor. NSGA thanks these dedicated athletes for giving their time to educate others about their sport.
Staying Healthy with Medicare
Physical and financial health are intertwined. Economic factors affect not only access to health care and nutritious food, but also shape healthy behaviors. Yet one in three older American adults is economically insecure—often just one bad break away from unmanageable debt.
A survey of aging professionals conducted by the National Council on Aging (NCOA) found that financially insecure older adults often make trade-offs to save money that endanger their health and well-being. Examples include cutting pills in half or skipping medication, which can lessen the dosage effectiveness, and skipping meals, which can lead to nutrient deficiencies and loss of strength.
Medicare can be a critical tool to maintain good health. A variety of preventive services and vaccines are offered for free under Part B. These include: an annual flu shot; pneumococcal and hepatitis B vaccines; screenings for diabetes, heart disease, and hepatitis C; bone mass measurements to assess your risk for osteoporosis; and screenings for breast, colon, lung, and prostate cancer. If you’re a senior who’s trying to lose weight, stop smoking, or limit alcohol consumption, Medicare also covers obesity, tobacco cessation, and alcohol misuse counseling.
But Medicare is not free. For many seniors, it can be a challenge to pay the monthly premium as well as copayments for prescriptions. Fortunately, there are programs that can help. The Medicare Savings Programs pay the monthly Part B premium for those who qualify, and for seniors with very low incomes, they eliminate co-insurance costs too. The Part D Extra Help benefit makes medications more affordable by paying the prescription drug plan premium and lowering out-of-pocket costs at the pharmacy. Nearly 2 million seniors are enrolled in these money-saving Medicare benefits, but that’s only half of those who are qualified to get help—another 2 million are likely missing out.
NCOA offers a free, confidential online screening tool, BenefitsCheckUp® (BenefitsCheckUp.org) that you can use to see if you qualify for these programs. BenefitsCheckUp® includes over 2,500 public and private benefits that can help you save on the costs of health care, prescriptions, food, housing, utilities, taxes, transportation, and more.
Take time to reduce stress on your body—and your wallet. Stay in the game by maximizing your Medicare coverage and your financial resources to keep you in top physical and economic shape.
Thanks to the National Council on Aging (NCOA), an NSGA partner, for providing this article.