RED BANK – For the “Greatest Generation,” how about a little yoga, maybe drawing/painting lessons? Did you ever want to learn how calligraphy is done? Or, why not just some relaxation and conversation over a cup of coffee. Why not?
United Methodist Communities at the Wesleyan, a senior housing facility, this summer has begun offering those activities and more at its “senior café” at the Red Bank Woman’s Club, 164 Broad St.
The Wesleyan is offering a revolving selection of activities to its residents and the older public at large on Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in a relaxed environment.
“It really is quite fun, it really is,” said Mary Patichio, social services coordinator at the Wesleyan.
Last fall the Wesleyan (formerly the Wesleyan Arms), 9 Wall St., opened its Wesleyan Café, providing a variety of activities for its residents. To meet the demand and give seniors in the surrounding area the opportunity to participate, the facility’s representatives decided to move the café to the club, in the historic former Reckless Estate.
On any given Wednesday those who venture to the Woman’s Club could have the chance to take dance lessons, get some exercise, get a manicure, learn ceramics, do a little adult coloring, or just play a game of chess or cards and share a light breakfast or lunch. They are welcome to simply while away a Wednesday morning and early afternoon with some company and chit-chat.
During previous sessions there were a technology education program, TED talks and a creative writing exercise. Each week there is a nurse, courtesy of the Visiting Nurse Association of Central New Jersey, who can take blood pressure and answer medical and medication questions. “Any questions our guests have we try to answer,” said Karen Diamond, the nurse on hand on Aug. 3.
The program is to promote living and learning for older adults and most of the services and classes are either at no cost or a nominal fee, according to Wesleyan representatives.
“I like it here. I like the people,” offered Melba Blessing in a confidential tone. Blessing is 81 and moved into the Wesleyan just two years ago. Her eyesight isn’t what it used to be and she doesn’t go in much for the dance lessons or yoga, she acknowledged, but “Everyone is very nice.”
Joslyn Birch, 70, a Red Bank resident said he was here specifically for the yoga, to work out a little stiffness.
Birch was playing a little poker – for fun, no gambling – with Wesleyan resident Liz Abran, 88, who was teaching him a few fast moves to improve his game. “We have some fun,” Birch said.
“The best part,” Abran explained, “meeting with other people,” who may not live at the Wesleyan.
That and the dancing, with Abran saying she was able to brush up on the cha-cha and the rhumba. “That was a lot of fun.”
About 11.3 million Americans over the age of 65 – about 30 percent of the senior population – live alone and this program provides an opportunity for socialization.
“What’s nice is people can come and go,” participate in the activities they want skip others, observed Robbie Voloshin, marketing director for United Methodist Communities.
United Methodist Communities, a not-for-profit, has 10 senior residential facilities. All of the facilities offer a similar program, according to Voloshin.
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