Grand Traverse County Senior Center Offers Activities For Seniors At Home
East Bay Township resident Shirley Bowman has been going to the Grand Traverse County Senior Center Network for over 20 years, but this past year has been different.
“I actually haven’t been in the Senior Center since everything was shut down,” Bowman said. “We’re coming close to a year now.”
The Coronavirus pandemic has changed a lot of our lives, but especially the senior population’s.
“They are the most vulnerable to this particular illness,” said Alisa Korn President of Grand Traverse County Parks and Recreation and the Senior Center Network. “They have lost their family and friends coming around and they’ve lost a lot of their activities.”
Korn says they’ve also lost out on going to places to socialize, like the Senior Center Network.
“The Senior Center is like a family,” Korn said. “It wasn’t just our seniors getting out and mixing with other individuals, the staff was really like family, too, for them.”
When the center closed for group activities, they had to think of other ways to connect with their seniors.
One of the ways is a taped exercise class that plays on CommunityTV. Bowman enjoys the exercise and yoga videos.
“The fitness program is good,” Bowman said. “It’s all different kinds of moves, some of it’s strengthening, some of it’s balancing.”
The center also offers exercise equipment for rent, as well as books and puzzles for check out.
“We have a little library outside you don’t even need to make an appointment for that,” Korn said.
One of the more popular activities are their “Sunshine Packets” with puzzles, word searches, and games.
“We mail them out, we drop them off to you, or you can set up a time to pick one up,” Korn said.
The center has also started virtual programming with their Senior WOW (With Out Walls) Program, which invites guest speakers to come and discuss anything from wellness to what is happening around town.
“We used to have a lot of people come and speak about different ideas and things that are going on in the area,” Korn said. “We’re still offering that, it’s just virtual now.”
Bowman appreciates all the center has done to connect her back to the Senior Care Network.
“I really appreciate the fact that they have put these exercises out there,” she said. “I hope that people are using them and that they continue.”