OLDER ACTIVE ADULT/SENIOR PROGRAMMING:
Thrive Physically, Mentally and Socially at the Y
Our YMCA active older adults are pleased our pre-pandemic programming is back in full-swing. Last week we had a great turnout for a rock painting session in the poolside room at the Nashua Branch.
“I am so thrilled to be able to offer these activities to our active older adult members. The feedback we’ve gotten is overwhelmingly positive and we plan to ramp up the offerings in the fall. It’s been so awesome to see people making new friends, socializing, laughing and just having a great time together,” said Wellbeing Director Kim Adie.
YMCA member Bryna Kamin (and past Volunteer of the Year!), helps to spread the word among membership and suggests many of the programs, including Bingo, which was held in June. She also chairs the bi-annual Book Sale, which just raised $840 in support of the Y’s annual campaign.
Our goal is to vary the offerings and we’re looking for feedback from members! Please feel free to send along ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org
Isolation during the pandemic was at an all-time high. We know Y programs that bring people together in an engaging and welcoming environment helps to address the needs of the growing aging population to help them thrive physically, mentally and socially.
The University of Michigan’s Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation recently conducted a poll on Healthy Aging. Here are some of their findings:
In 2023, one in three adults age 50–80 (34%) reported feeling isolated from others (29% some of the time, 5% often) in the past year. This represents a marked decline compared with the 56% (43% some of the time, 13% often) who felt isolated in 2020, but a greater proportion than the 27% (22% some of the time, 5% often) who reported feeling isolated in 2018.
Their report concludes: Chronic loneliness (persistent feelings of isolation and/or a lack of companionship) can adversely affect mental, cognitive, and physical health, general well-being, and even longevity. NPHA polls from 2018 to 2023 have consistently found that feeling isolated from others, feeling a lack of companionship, and having infrequent social contact were strongly associated with poorer physical and mental health among older adults.
Our members share their thoughts while enjoying the art project:
• During the rock-painting sessions, 20-year YMCA member Dawn Beaulieu said, “I love it here. I meet a lot of people. I started coming to the Y when I was a kid when I lived in Massachusetts and visited my grandparents on the weekend. They lived close to the Y and we would walk over. It’s so healthy coming to the Y!,”
• Gloria Levesque said she has enjoyed making jewelry projects and other craft projects. “We made fleece blankets that were donated to the local hospitals and shelters. We would come on Sundays and work on these projects together. We called them ‘just in case’ blankets – just in case you need a warm wrap!”
• New Y member Jill Hughes said this was her first activity at the Y. She’s eager for more classes and a chance to meet more members! Her next activity will be joining the water aerobics classes.
• “I was in the Y’s Livestrong (cancer survivor program) about a year ago. Through that I learned about what other programs are available at the Y. It’s so nice to meet other people and chat. Eirikur (Eirikur Holt, trainer in the Livestrong program) encouraged me to get back to exercise again. I met a supportive group off people through that program.” She also enjoyed Bingo at the Y, “It’s an excuse to socialize!,” she said.
• Julie Taylor “I had fun today. I like to do arts and crafts. I usually do them by myself at home. I’m in pool classes every single day at the Y!”
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