Mission Moment: The Y Helping Older Adults Stay Active, Engaged
Editor’s Note: All quotes in this article are from YMCA of Greater Cleveland Active Older Adults from the last few months. None were directly solicited.
“Being a senior with senior challenges the…classes are invaluable not only from a general health and well-being prospective, but also from a financial and economic standpoint... They are also a well-being social activity for many participants who bring with them a wealth of information from personal experiences in many, many different areas to look forward to with a self-help attitude, a consensus of comradery and having the ability to help others by passing along their experiences.”
At the Y, we honor senior citizens. Seniors have tremendous life experience. They can teach us about enduring change and handling life’s challenges. They have a great amount of wisdom and knowledge to share. At all our branches, we provide programming and social opportunities for this valued group, because healthy aging is our goal.
The CDC stats that regular physical activity is one of the most important things an older adult can do for their health. It can prevent many of the health problems that seem to come with age. It also helps muscles grow stronger so older people can keep doing their day-to-day activities without becoming dependent on others. Here is what some of our members have to say about staying active at our Y.
“I'm sure that I wouldn't be able to do the things I do if it wasn't for the strength, balance and cardio classes.”
“The classes and instructors are amazing, and everyone is welcome. The staff is friendly and inviting. I look forward to participating more in the future as I begin my retirement.”
“I was inspired to conquer my fears and learn how to swim after several attempts. My experience is like a family affair -- everyone that knows me encouraged me and cheered my accomplishments.”
Staying social is as important, according to the National Council on Aging. Strong social connections are central to a person’s physical and mental well-being. But when vulnerable older adults experience setbacks or life transitions, they may become disconnected and isolated. The negative health consequences of social isolation include impaired mental performance, a compromised immune system, and a heightened risk of chronic disease, as well as depression. The health risks of prolonged isolation are equivalent to smoking 15 cigarettes a day.
Our seniors are finding their social comfort at our Y.
“This is a place where, in these difficult times, one feels safe. The staff is very friendly, and the members are polite to each other.”
“They are just right for me. It is exactly what I was looking for. I feel that I belong and that is an awesome feeling.”
“The Active Older Adults classes are fun to attend because of the people. The employees are welcoming, the instructors are knowledgeable and entertaining, and meeting others is priceless.
The Y Loves Active Older Adults
Some use the term seniors, but at the Y we prefer the term Active Older Adults (AOA). AOAs at the YMCA experience a strong sense of belonging and create a network of friends who provide support for sustained health and well-being. Through on-going, fun, safe and engaging programs, AOA members build relationships and increase self-confidence while celebrating the successes of each member of their community.
Our Y serves thousands of AOAs across all our branches. We offer everything from exercise classes to special events, book clubs, bus tours and lunch clubs. We provide for the spirit, mind and body needs of our AOAs and they bring joy to us!
In most cases, the cost of membership is covered by health insurance companies, though we also have a special rate for seniors who wish to pay the monthly rate. However, some seniors cannot afford to join. For those in need, we provide financial aid to give them access to all the Y has to offer them. We can do this thanks to our members and donors. If you can contribute to help offset the cost of membership from those in need, please click here.