For the first time in two years, NAM’s Young at Heart Center came together to celebrate Older Americans Month.
With the Young at Heart Center now operating at 100% capacity as of May 1st, many seniors who have been members for many years were happy to return and reconnect in person with the friends they made at NAM, and to participate in the many activities that are offered.
“I’ve been very at sea with nothing to do while stuck at home, '' said Mella. “It's wonderful to be back. I already have a stack of projects going!” Mella found NAM’s Young at Heart Senior Center when searching for activities for her mother several years ago, and has remained at NAM since then. “When we found NAM’s senior Center, it felt like coming home. Everyone made my mom feel very welcome, and it's been great to be a member myself.”
“I help create the centerpieces for the Young at Heart Center, and sew dresses for the 'Dress a Child' project, that sends handmade clothing to children in developing nations,” said Caroline, who has been a Young at Heart member for 10 years. “NAM’S reopening has brought back another purpose in my life. I feel best when I’m helping others - it makes me feel good.”
As the senior center reopened at 100% for Older Americans Month, NAM staff are mindful of the senior activities that now hold a different level of importance after the decreased levels of inactivity imposed by covid19. “We are trying to make sure that everyone involves themselves as much as possible with exercise, and getting them back to the level of fitness that they were before covid isolation,” said Eva, Senior Social Services Supervisor. “We’re trying to encourage physical fitness, and we’ve added a few additional classes, including tap dance.”
Aerobics, yoga, ballet, tap and line dancing are the classes that are currently offered at Young at Heart.
“Anything that we can do to engage their fitness and encourage socialization for our seniors is now more important than ever,” said Eva. “Keeping the brain engaged and offering seminars to educate them is also essential for our seniors as well.”
For Older Americans Month, NAM’s Young at Heart Senior Center hosted the senior information and resource fair. “We brought an attorney from a law firm to discuss wills and more, along with the Harris County Area Agency on Aging. “ said Eva. “We’re trying to make sure that we cover all the bases on what our seniors need to learn and be aware of.”
Participating organizations for the Senior Information and Resource Fair included Toups Law Firm Attorney Ruth-Ann Toups, Harris County Area Agency on Aging, Conservatory at Champions, Devoted Health, RSVP Senior Corp, and Team Raszka Insurance Specialists
Older Americans Month 2022 is also the first time since 2019 that Young at Heart members commemorated Memorial Day together. From memorializing special days to crafting as a group to the weekly cafe lunches, NAM’s Young at Heart Senior Center is here to help our seniors socialize as a community and feel a continued sense of purpose in their lives.
For Older Americans Month 2022, as NAM staff are reconnecting in person with Young at Heart members, Eva also is mindful of reminding seniors that they are loved and valued.
“We are making our seniors aware that just because you are aging - it doesn’t mean that you have nothing to give,” she said, “and because you’re aging ,it doesn’t mean that your life is over; you can still make contributions to your community.”