Building a Healthy & Safe Community for Active Older Adults

Building a Healthy and Safe Community

Every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at the Preston-Chambers Y-Zone you will find a dedicated group of active older adults led by the cheerful and energetic Marcia Jenkins. Marcia, now 83 years old, joined the YMCA shortly after she retired as a Union Area School District teacher in 2004. Motivated to remain active and maintain a routine in retirement, she began attending Silver Sneaker classes, a fitness program designed for seniors age 65+ on eligible insurance plans. She loved that the Y offered her a sense of community with other individuals at the same stage of life as she. After a few years of participating in Silver Sneaker classes, she made the decision to become a Silver Sneaker instructor. This was the beginning of an exciting evolution at the Y-Zone. 

Being a Silver Sneaker herself, Marcia found that it was easier for her to connect with her class and understand their physical, mental and emotional needs. Participants in her class are more than just YMCA and Silver Sneaker members, they are her family. They would celebrate each other’s milestones and life events, share stories about their families and loved ones, and offer each other a shoulder to cry on in times of sadness or loss. 

During the height of the pandemic, the participants in Marcia’s class would keep in touch to support each other and help alleviate the loneliness and isolation caused by the stay-at-home order, continuing to be social emotional outlets for each other. Marcia made it her personal mission to call those who lived alone, without family nearby or those whose spouses had passed away. This close-knit group even continued to meet in person at the park across from the Preston-Chambers Y-Zone for picnics and birthday celebrations, while practicing social distancing. Now, with the Covid-19 restrictions being lifted, Marcia and the Silver Sneakers are back at the Y-Zone continuing to help each other to stay happy, healthy and motivated