Sixty Forward – Changing the Vision of Aging

In today’s culture, age is truly just a number, and the aging process is unique to everyone. The reality is that as people enter their 60s, 70s, and 80s, they want to stay active and engaged with others. They want a wider variety of options to help them stay healthy and feel their best. They want easy access and supportive services when health issues arise; and they do not want to be labeled as elderly, old, or senior citizens.

The driving mission of Heartland has always been to enrich and support the health and quality-of-life as people age. In recognizing the need to shift how we think and talk about aging well, we identified the need to reimagine the programs, services, and activities offered.

To accomplish this goal, we formed a partnership with Mary Greeley Medical Center and the City of Ames Department of Parks and Recreation. We have developed a community-wide programmatic model to connect those 60+ to opportunities that will include physical activities, social networks, and a magnitude of wellness offerings. The Sixty Forward initiative will come to life early in 2024. Through a unified Sixty Forward website, this partnership will allow us to seamlessly promote programs and services to those ages 60+ utilizing existing recreational facilities in Ames and throughout Story County.

“This model turns traditional thinking around into what best serves the needs of our residents,” said Ames City Manager Steve Schainker. “We are focusing on how
to provide the appropriate attention to a growing segment of our population to ensure they remain vibrant, healthy, and independent members of our community.”

“Collaboration represents a cornerstone of our organizational model, so partnering to promote better aging supports our mission as a healthcare organization,” said
Mary Greeley Medical Center President and CEO Brian Dieter. “Making it easier to access programs and services that improve participants’ overall health delivers a big win for everyone.”

Board President Elect, Pam White adds, “By leveraging existing services and facilities throughout Ames – maximizing each of the three organizations’ strengths
– Sixty Forward will enhance access to available resources and support those 60+ in their journey to age well.” As an example, there will be a Sixty Forward golf
league at Homewood Golf Course, aqua exercise classes at the Furman Aquatic Center, and pickleball leagues offered throughout the Ames’ park system. “This is going to be a dynamic and cutting-edge program for all of us over the age of 60,” White said.

A Message from
Board President,
Leo Milleman, M.D.

Sixty Forward will come to life in 2024, thanks to the leadership of our Board and staff, Ames City Manager Steve Schainker, and MGMC President and CEO Brian Dieter, and their staff members.

By utilizing community facilities and the expertise of each entities’ staff to lead programs, Sixty Forward will support those 60+ on their journey to aging well. Collectively we will seamlessly provide programs, activities and services in the areas of physical activity, social networks, health and nutrition.

The Sixty Forward Center has been made possible through private gifts that total over $9.5 million. The Story County Board of Supervisors awarded Heartland $300,000 toward this project from Federal ARPA funding. The City of Ames is leasing the land to Heartland for $1 per year. This state-of-the-art Center is going to be an amazing facility; the ideal space to gather, connect with friends, pursue an active lifestyle, and engage in meaningful educational offerings.

On behalf of our Board of Directors and staff, I want to express our gratitude to the individuals that developed this concept and to those that contributed financially to make this vision become a reality. Those between 60 and 100+ will benefit greatly from this programmatic partnership and beautiful Sixty Forward Center for decades to come.

In 2023, Heartland’s old building, located at 205 S. Walnut Avenue, will be replaced with a new facility called the Sixty Forward Center, at a cost of approximately $10 million. It will serve as the headquarters for Sixty Forward. It will have state-of-the-art cardio and fitness equipment, a bright and airy atrium for gathering, Duckpin Bowling, a fitness studio, several multi-purpose rooms, and an Adult Day Center. The Sixty Forward Center will also include a bistro. The bistro will be a relaxing and fun place to gather with friends for a cup of coffee or tea, a glass of beer or wine, and wonderful food.

“At the Sixty Forward Center, Mary Greeley Medical Center staff will offer nutrition, wellness, health education classes, and various support groups. Parks and Recreation will offer aerobics, yoga, Silver Sneakers, Tai Chi, SPIIF Lift and more. Heartland will continue to provide Adult Day Center services, and card playing, BINGO, book clubs, art and craft classes, and much more,” said Eliz Erbes, Board member.

In addition, Heartland will continue to provide Outreach services to those 60+ on a one-on-one basis in participant’s homes, and with Mary Greeley Medical Center provide over 230 Meals on Wheels deliveries each day between Monday and Friday.

What it means to age has dramatically changed. Thanks to this new partnership, leveraging each other’s facilities and expertise and the addition of the Sixty Forward Center, those 60+ will be well served on their journey to aging well.

Day-to-Day Financial Needs and Programs Continue During Construction

Donations comprise over 20% of Heartland’s operational budget so remembering those 60 and above is critical to our day-to-day offerings,” said Nancy Carroll, Executive Director. “The pandemic really impacted this segment of our population. As an example, prior to COVID we delivered around 125 meals per day. Now, we deliver over 230 hot and nutritious meals a day – so we really value the generosity of people from Ames and beyond.”

While we eagerly await the new facility, Heartland continues to offer our core programs and activities throughout the community. Adult Day Center services are held at Green Hills Monday through Friday. Card playing and exercise classes Day-to-Day Financial Needs and Programs Continue During Construction are held multiple times per week at Northminster Presbyterian Church and BINGO players meet at CityChurch twice a month. Meals on Wheels deliveries continue Monday through Friday. Outreach Specialists meet in participant’s homes, connecting them to existing available resources. For specific information on these offerings, call 515-233-2906.

Breaking Ground on the Sixty Forward Center

If you’ve driven by 205 S. Walnut Avenue recently, you have noticed a drastic change. In March of 2022 demolition of the Heartland building occurred. While this building allowed Heartland to offer services, it was an outdated and inefficient facility. The 10,000-square-foot structure was originally built in 1952 by the Ames Community School District to serve as Willson School.

In January 2022, we partnered with a Breaking Ground on the Sixty Forward Center local architectural and engineering firm, 10Fold, to develop a state-of-the-art facility that would meet the needs and serve our active 60+ community.

Our contractor, Harold Pike Construction (HPC) of Ames, began the earthwork phase of the project in September and will begin construction of the Center in the spring of 2023. “As a contractor working in the area for over 50 years, we value getting to be a part of projects that enhance the quality-of-life for our community,” said Curtis Pike, HPC Manager. “It truly will be a state-of-the-art facility and a point of pride for Ames.” The 15,000-square-foot building is slated to open in summer 2024.

If you would like to participate in the capital campaign for the Sixty Forward Center or to learn more about naming opportunities, contact Executive Director Nancy Carroll at 515-231-4354.

Construction Update

     – March 2024, interior work including drywalling, painting, and flooring are being installed. Everything is going great and we are still set to open mid- summer.

     – November 2023, exterior work is completed

     – The project is on schedule and the Sixty Forward Center should open in summer 2024.

     – Heartland’s services will continue during construction.

     – Read about our vision and new center in this newsletter.

Heartland of Story County –
New Name, Same Mission

Life in your 60s and beyond is not what it used to be. Demographic statistics show that people are healthier, living longer, working and staying active, and approaching life differently than previous generations. According to the 2018 McCann Study, people over the age of 60 feel that messaging and services geared to them are condescending, stereotypical, and place far too much emphasis on medical conditions. In other words, how our society typically frames the aging process in no longer accurate or relevant.

For this reason, Heartland Senior Services of Story County is changing our name to Heartland of Story County. We believe this name better reflects the current needs of the segment of the community we support. With the shift in the mentality and mindset of those we serve, we too need to shift our brand, messaging, and approach to the work we do. Board Member Nicole Facio said, “Heartland Senior Services has been a well-recognized name in Story County for nearly 50 years, and we will continue to build upon that strong foundation. Our decision to remove the unhelpful label of ‘Senior Services’ reflects the changing needs of our community while maintaining our name recognition of ‘Heartland’.”

A Partnership Between