Older adults get moving

Published 9:04 pm Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Line dancing was just one activity at the Suffolk YMCA’s Active Older Adults Day on Wednesday. The annual event happens across the country at YMCAs with an older adults program, emphasizing remaining active and socially engaged.

On a rainy Wednesday when a good book or DVD would have been more the ticket for most people, older adults were up and moving at the Suffolk YMCA.

Active Older Adults Day occurs on the last Wednesday of May across the country at YMCAs with an older adults program. Lorraine Worrell, organizer of Suffolk’s event, was pleased with the turnout.

“It’s been an awesome morning,” she said. “Despite the weather, all the active older adults still came out.”

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The event featured more than 30 vendors, such as the city of Suffolk, the American Red Cross, Home Instead Senior Care and BayPort Credit Union.

Ladies from the Suffolk Humane Society were there with Sentara Obici Hospital Kanine Kandystripers therapy dogs, line-dancing sessions had lots of older adults up and moving, and a make-your-own-wrap lunch sent a healthy eating message.

The event also included challenging table games and active bingo. “If you get a number, you have to stand up,” Worrell said of the bingo, adding that jumping jacks were also part of it.

“For active adults, we try to incorporate all body parts, including the upper body and the lower body.”

“It’s good for senior citizens to get out,” said Louise Baker. “It’s nice. I’ve been going around looking at the things they have, and seeing what’s going on, talking to people.”

Shirley Pugh, meanwhile, was most interested in what was happening on the dance floor. “I like the dancing,” she said. “I get up and dance.”

She said she also appreciated the free blood pressure screening. “Staying active is very important,” she added. “I sit around for a long time, I begin to get stiff.”

Besides promoting exercise and activity, building social bonds was another important aspect of the event, Worrell said.

“We’re really interested in getting them socializing and having fun as well as staying active,” she said.

The Suffolk YMCA has fitness classes geared toward older adults every day, and “with our social calendar, we try to have an event two to three times a month.”