“Our Boots Are Made For Walking” at the Office for Senior Resource’s New Senior Walking Club
The seniors at the Putnam County Friendship Centers enjoy various daily activities such as bingo, cards, exercise classes and socializing with each other. This is something that the summer interns working at the Office for Senior Resources are learning. As part of the County Executive’s P.I.L.O.T. program, the Office for Senior Resources were assigned four interns. One of the interns, Elizabeth Stasiak, was speaking with a group of senior at the Carmel Friendship Center, and she asked the question, “If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go?” One senior simply answered, “Outside.” Elizabeth began thinking about what she could do and came up with the idea of starting a walking club. After conferring with her advisor, Elizabeth created the “Senior Walking Club” and it has been so well received, that the interns at the Mahopac and Putnam Valley Friendship Centers have expanded the club to include the seniors at those centers. Elizabeth, along with Carmel’s other intern, Meredith Jennings, enjoys getting the seniors outside and walking.
Something as simple as a daily walk can help you live a healthier life because it is beneficial for both the mind and the body. Weather permitting, the Walking Clubs meet every morning that the centers are open. The group members go out and walk, at their own pace, for approximately twenty minutes. They enjoy soaking in the sun, embracing the nice weather and chatting with one another while they walk. Not even walkers and canes can hold them back.
Rosemary Homyak from Carmel said, “I enjoy it! My doctor wants me to walk five days a week. I’m not really a walker, but I actually look forward to coming here and walking!” Another senior from the Carmel Center, Margaret Shultz, said, “I like walking in general. I like everybody going out together and I usually do two laps. I always look forward to it.”
Marie Broughton, who attends the Mahopac Center, enjoys going out every morning with the club. She states, “Walking is very good for you and is a great form of exercise. I look forward to walking because I know I am not alone and there is always a group of us out there.” Marie completes a half a mile of walking every morning, with her walker! She is always one of the first ones to ask if we are going out and really shows us that no obstacle is too much for her to handle.
Another senior at the Mahopac Center, Felicia Gruber, states that “Walking gets my heart pumping. I use to walk 5 miles with my husband every day; this is a great activity to keep me active and walking again.” Felicia walks about a mile every time the group goes outside.
The Walking Club at the Putnam Valley Friendship Center has been very successful too. The feedback received has been very positive. Participant Lilly Diaz says, “The program very enjoyable and therapeutic.” Miriam Mandell says that the program is “good exercise, good moods and good feelings.” She also feels the program gives her “a boost of energy I have not had before.” Another senior says “I love the program and the support I receive from my family for exercising daily, and I’m keeping healthy and young at heart”.
At the start, a majority of the seniors only walked a lap or two every morning. Now, they are all adding more and more laps each day. The seniors are excited about this new, positive adventure at the Friendship Centers! The walking, talking and laughing will continue all summer long.