BETHEL – Though we may not like to admit it, aging is something we all do. At 73, Rosabelle Tifft wants to spread the word that while we grow older, we can learn ways to avoid feeling old.

“Maybe I’m older, but I’m not old,” says Tifft, who co-chairs the Western Maine Senior College’s Aging Well conference planning committee. Her beaming smile and lilting voice make her a perfect poster girl for aging gracefully.

The senior college and SAD 44 are inviting people of all ages to enjoy a full day of conviviality, education and community support at Saturday’s conference in Crescent Park School. The conference’s seven workshops will focus on improving people’s chances for living a long, healthy, productive life, based upon the conference’s Rules for Aging Well.

In her characteristically businesslike manner, Tifft lists the “rules”: “Eating right, laughing more, exercising body and mind, exploring spirituality, connecting with community and finding your passion.”

A fee of $25 per person and $20 for senior-college members will include coffee served at the door and a lunch break catered by The Good Food Store. Exhibits may be viewed during the first hour and during lunch.

Conference workshops will cover these topics: stimulating the mind with creative problem-solving; sexuality and aging; sensible eating; taking the “old” out of old; balance and strength; healing through body, mind, emotion and spirit; and spirituality in aging. Facilitators come from throughout the western mountain region, an area with a long and rich history of healing extending back to Native Americans, organizers said.

“We believe we live in a special place and draw from the healing power of the mountains,” said Allen Cressy, another planning committee member.

Wendy Iseman, a health educator and the public relations director for Maine Handicapped Skiing, is co-chairing the planning committee with Tifft. She also will facilitate the workshop titled “Sexuality and Aging – Love Never Dies.”

Jacqueline Cressy, who chairs the senior college’s board of directors, says she hopes that younger people will be drawn to the conference also, because the earlier in life people begin healthful practices, the greater their chances for healthy longevity.

“Being positive, active and involved keeps one young,” says Tifft.

As a young woman, her professional career took off so rapidly, she never had time to go to college until she was 50. She completed her degree when she was 60.

“I just have a love of learning,” she says, which she carries with vigor to the Western Mountain Senior College.


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