Danner Park features a new tool to help seniors stay physically fit.

There is now a place for senior citizens in Chillicothe to be outside while working on their fine motor skills, balance and more, all while enjoying the park and getting to “play”.

Last week, Aging in Place Livingston County held a public dedication and ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate the installation of new playground equipment for senior citizens at Danner Park. The equipment, called a Senior Motion Wellness System, is located on the north end of Danner Park near the Rotary shelter house.

Among adults 65 and older, falls are the leading cause of injury, Ann Burchett, with Aging in Place Livingston County said. “The design of the equipment is based upon fall assessment and fall reduction of seniors, while enhancing physical and cognitive skills and providing a great social setting.”

This system helps build and improve individuals’ confidence, balance, and strength needed to

reduce falls and improves everyday life activities, such as: navigating stairs, reaching for items in a cupboard, or simply getting up out of a chair.

“Many times seniors focus on the ability to be able to walk safely but forget about working on upper body strength and their fine motor skills,” Burchett said. “There are several activities and exercises right here on this equipment that will help with that.”

“Our latest goal is to provide a motion wellness system, otherwise known as a Physical Activity Station for senior citizens, in Danner Park. These systems contribute to a senior’s motion, strength, posture, balance, and coordination, while reducing the risk of falls and increasing overall fitness abilities. By staying active and well, seniors have a better outlook on aging in place, or staying in their own homes as long as possible while maintaining quality of life,” said Aging in Place organizers in a letter to the Chillicothe City Council.

Mary Ruth Altheide, an occupational therapist who also works with Aging In Place plans to do a video that will help seniors see all the equipment has to offer and proper ways to use it.

The equipment was purchased using funds from the Livingston County Senior Tax Board,

Livingston County Community Foundation, Robert Browning Foundation, the Lambert Foundation, the City of Chillicothe, Livingston County Health Center and a small private foundation that wishes to remain anonymous.

The playground was installed late last fall by the Chillicothe Parks Department.

Aging in Place Livingston County is unique not only to Missouri as a whole but especially to North Central Missouri, Burchett said. The group began in 2016 locally and works to help seniors with a variety of issues and needs from finances to physical health and safety and home design.

“We all are aging in place,” Burchett said. “And we work to address a variety of issues to make sure people can safely remain in their homes for as long as they safety can while maintaining quality of life.”

One of the biggest indicators of a person's ability to stay in their home is if they are able to raise themselves up out of a chair, Burchett noted.

Aging in Place offers a variety of activities to address seniors physical needs including recently started Tai Chi Classes, the senior play equipment and more.

Needs Day, a resource fair, helps make sure seniors throughout the are are connected with the resources to serve them and their specific needs.

Aging in Place Livingston County will host Needs Day from 10 a.m.-3 p.m., this Wednesday, April 24 at the health center, 800 Adam Dr. For more information about Tai Chi classes, Needs Day, the knox box and 911 locator sign program call 646-5506.