Can you believe it? It’s already September (mid-September at that), where does the time go? It seems like just yesterday that I was moving up to the Northern Virginia area to start my new job-that was nearly a year ago. Like anything in life, my first year has had high points and those not so much; but overall I feel that it has gone relatively well. One of the most enjoyable parts of my job throughout the last year has been my time working with seniors, which as you may recall, I coordinate along with Athletic programs here at the Parks and Recreation Department.
Seniors, much like my colleague Sue Jurjevic would probably tell you about preschoolers, are extremely honest in expressing their feelings, sometimes brutally so-they don’t hold back anything. Whereas most people would find this to be a poor quality, making it difficult to try working with them, I find it helps me plan and relate to them better. Of course, it helps to have patience and a “thick skin” because, like I said, sometimes they can be brutally honest. And I find that I can relate to everyone really well, despite the age gap.
The participants of our Senior Programs are, for the most part, still living independently; this is because of their continued high levels of activity that challenges and stimulates them mentally, socially and physically. I have gone by the Senior Yoga class on several occasions, seeing the participants of that certain age with the ability to position their body into stances, I could only dream of trying. That particular class is adapted for any of the participants’ health or mobility concerns, including the ability to create all the poses from a chair. This is just one our fitness opportunities that are available to our community’s senior citizens, which we classify as Active Aging. We also offer classes in the pool like Aqua-cise and Restorative Aquafit, and less structured programs like Wii Fitness and Table Tennis.
In addition to physical health, our activities also provide social opportunities which are a large part of our programming designed for seniors. It is vital that the seniors get some interaction with peers, to maintain mental well-being; especially after the loss of most social interaction after retirement. We have a Senior Social Club that meets every Wednesday, where we make crafts, play games, and sometimes enjoy a potluck lunch to celebrate birthdays. Additionally, we offer Morning Mochas, which gives everyone a chance to meet with friends and discuss recent happenings while reading the newspaper, watching the news or sipping that morning cup of coffee. (And if you haven’t been by the Community Center recently, you’ve got to check out our newly transformed lounge area!).
The last component of our senior programming is something that is possibly the most engaging of all, and definitely ensures mental stimulation. That would be our Continuing Education offerings, which range from computer classes like New School Skills, reading the latest compelling novel at Senior Book Club, to learning how to cook or draw in Culinary Delights and Masterpiece Theater. This allows for the continuation of a passion for say art, or the ability to learn something new-perhaps learning how to make a digital scrapbook (that will show the grandchildren, that you still have a trick or two up your sleeve!).
The great thing about our Seniors Programming is that every offering is available for the daily drop-in rate for only $2, or better yet, come to all the classes and get access to the Community Center and Signal Bay Water Park with a Seniors Passport membership for only $30 a year. That’s right, $30 for the YEAR! That means you could come learn new skills, take a swim in the pool, and unleash your creativity and catch up with friends, for less than 10 cents per day over the course of the year-plus, we brew the coffee!
Thanks for reading and have a nice day!
Carl Blake is the Recreation Specialist of the Department of Parks and Recreation. He can be reached at 703.335.8872 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Community Matters is a blog created by the City of Manassas Park Department of Parks and Recreation. The blog features program updates, announcements of new services, special event notices, or information of general interest.