Americans are living longer, and they are staying more active. It's this burgeoning segment of our local population who will find reason to visit the Valdosta-Lowndes Conference Center Aug. 16.

That's the date for the South Georgia Senior Living Showcase, an event sponsored by this newspaper to focus on the more active lives of those 50 and older.

U.S. Census figures show the percentage of residents ages 45 to 74 in Lowndes County grew faster between 1990 and 2000 than the overall population. In that decade, the number of people in those age brackets grew 32 percent, from 16,393 to 21,613, while the overall county grew 21 percent, according to data. Many other people are continuing to live well into their 80s and 90s and staying active.

Advances in medical care and treatment, combined with greater knowledge of health issues, have made today's older Americans far more active than previous generations. The baby boom generation, those who are now 57 and younger, also is likely to blaze new trails as its members enter their golden years.

The Showcase is intended to provide information on products and services to older residents from throughout South Georgia. More than 60 vendors are expected to participate, and seminars are planned on real estate, investments, assisted living, estate planning, exercise and prescription drugs.

A highlight of this event will be the naming of a "Super Citizen of the Year," someone 50 or older who is active in the community, inspires others and has had an impact on others. Nominees are now being accepted, and the winner will be announced during the Showcase.

Nomination forms are printed daily in the newspaper and are also available online at www.valdostadailytimes.com/seniorshowcase. We urge readers to recommend someone they know.

The Valdosta Daily Times hopes the Showcase will make all of us aware of the needs and desires of today's older generation.

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