MANHATTAN, Kan. (WIBW) -- A state official met with local seniors Friday to answer questions about policies and services that impact older adults in Kansas.
Shawn Sullivan, Secretary for the Department for Aging and Disability Services visited the Riley County Seniors' Service Center Friday morning.
His visit was hosted by the center and Kansas State University's Center on Aging.
"I tried to talk about and promote how important physical fitness and health and wellness activities. I think we don’t spend enough time talking about that and encouraging seniors to be fit and do exercises and to think about the things they can do to manage conditions they have like diabetes and heart conditions and just how important fitness is in the sphere of those things. I also talked about how health policy may be changing in the next number of years, the next 15 years and to engage them as to who life as a senior could be different in 20 or so years," he told WIBW.
Sullivan spoke about some of the challenges his agency faces as the senior population continues to grow.
"Kansas has the sixth highest percentage of seniors in nursing homes per ca pita in the country. That’s something that we recognize as a huge opportunity for improvement and we have a number of initiatives that we’re going to be working on in the next year or two to help reduce that. It’s very important to our administration and our agency that people be able to stay at home, independent and healthy, as long as possible," he said.
Sullivan commended the Riley County Seniors' Services Center, located on North 4th Street in Manhattan, for its programs that help local senior interact and stay active.
"A lot of senior centers around the state are just places where a person comes in and gets a meal and then goes home. The senior center here seems to have a lot of activities going on and exercise classes and social activities which is great for seniors in Manhattan and Riley County that they can come to a place and interact with each other and have all of these things available to them," Sullivan added.
During his visit to Manhattan, Sullivan received a public advocacy award from Kansas State University's College of Human Ecology.