Finding Community
at Every Age

For our senior adults, the JCC provides a true community in so many ways. As everyone followed the stay-at-home guidelines, it meant our senior population would be missing out on opportunities for connection such as our “Brunch & Learn,” “Senior Luncheon” and our “Silver Strength” fitness and wellness classes. But Senior Fitness instructor Joan Walden kept those connections alive and her senior students healthy with online classes that provided so much more than just exercise. Joan Walden shares a story about a special Silver Strength student…

Are you a morning person? Do you sparkle as soon as you get out of bed? If you answered “no” to those questions, then you and Greg Babal have something in common.

Despite that, Greg had been a regular in my morning Silver Strength classes five days a week before the pandemic changed all of our lives.

“Since March, I’ve had to pick up old hobbies,” says Greg, “such as basket-weaving.”

Greg, who lives alone, is like many following the stay-at-home guidelines. He has increased his bread-baking over the last four months and his baking skills were already formidable; at a party held last year for the exercise group, he brought a freshly baked three-foot long challah and another bread.

To offset the carb-load, Greg has been religiously taking my virtual classes, while also supplementing with weight-training and hiking.

He credits the members of our exercise class as significant motivators. “They really enrich my life. I force myself to go and feel so much better and ready to start my day.”

Greg joined the Mandell JCC in October 2015 following an angioplasty and the insertion of a stent. After follow-up treatment, he was advised to participate in an exercise program. “I began looking around for classes and did all my research. I really fell in love with the JCC.”

Greg is a testament to our JCC community. Whether in person, or virtually, if we provide quality programming, they will come.
Greg has worked hard to maintain his health and well-being from a distance, and in addition to feeling good, his cardiologist, whom he recently saw, told him that she was “extremely happy” with his condition.

A prolonged gap in exercise can impact anyone’s well-being, especially while the Virus is circulating. But this is even more important for seniors. This was a critical concern to our fitness staff who not only wanted to keep our seniors active, but also safe while working out at home and connected to their community.

Joan Walden
Senior Fitness Instructor


Seniors Stay Connected During COVID