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Pursuit: Physical and social programs help maintain good health

Edna Arthur coordinator at Terrace Bay Superior Senior Center helps organize a variety of programs to keep senior groups active.

TERRACE BAY -- Staying physically active continues to be an integral part of staying healthy both physically and mentally. Edna Arthur, coordinator at Terrace Bay Superior Senior Club, is a driving force behind helping to organize and maintain activities that provide seniors with a variety of options that promotes the physical and mental well-being of its club members.

The centre has approximately 250 members who throughout the year participate in a variety of activities. Arthur spoke about these opportunities at length, sharing the fact that the club is excited about starting more exercise programs in the fall, since COVID-19 had limited what could be done during the pandemic. “We are trying to get back to normal from COVID-19 as it resulted in things being closed for so long,” said Arthur.

Arthur highlights the fact that there are many activities available to the seniors, some of which are sit down ones, but even with those types of activities, the groups are encouraged to participate as much as they can. “We offer gentle exercise programs for the older seniors, and we encourage them to do as much as they can do,” said Arthur. “In the fall we have a little of everything.”

Physically, the centre welcomes the seniors to come and walk in the Michael King Hall, “as long as no other activity is happening in the hall, and this is free of charge,” added Arthur. “Walking is very important and this is an all-season option for the group.”

Arthur described how there is a group of seniors at the club who participates in Tai Chi, as a result of a community volunteer who comes to the club and helps them practice on a regular basis. Another group plays Pickle Ball, and the seniors love this sport because they can be as active as they want to make it. “The group is careful though not to ever extend themselves,” shared Arthur.

Keeping their seniors club physically active is a definite priority, but Arthur also emphasizes the social aspect of these programs. As a result, Arthur speaks about other non-sports related activities that the centre offers.

The seniors play darts on a weekly basis, with card games offered every day. The club organizes a cribbage tournament, a rummoli fun night, euchre/bid euchre, and bridge night. “We also have a craft room where they have sewing equipment and the group gets together to make things such as aprons, pot holders, and from time to time they make a personal lap quilt,” said Arthur.

The social aspect of what the club does is very important to the seniors. From Monday to Friday, the club is open for coffee from 10 a.m. until noon. During those times, groups come in to chat and talk about things happening in their community, or the recent hockey or baseball game.

Another popular activity that Arthur speaks about is pool. The centre has two pool tables and the men come in almost every day to engage in a few games of pool. But throughout this candid conversation Arthur stressed too how they have other important things that the centre organizes and offers the seniors.

She spoke about community nurses who come in to the centre to offer other very important services. “A nurse trained in foot care, comes to the centre. This is a paid service but the centre provides the nurse with an area to do foot care. The seniors are thrilled about having this service, especially for those who have to deal with their feet issues,” explained Arthur. This service is provided to the seniors once a month.

Other community nurses visit the centre as well, with a nurse on hand once a month who comes into the centre and offers blood pressure and blood glucose testing.

Arthur spoke proudly of how the senior groups not only come in and willingly look forward to the variety of activities and events that the centre offers, but also about how these seniors stay active withing their community as well. She described how busy groups of seniors were this past weekend when the Drag Races returned to Terrace Bay.

The senior centre website featured the fact that the group who volunteered to help at this past weekend’s Drag Races logged in 140 man-hours. “This past weekend seniors volunteered to help out at the Drag races, running the ticket booth, collecting garbage in the parking areas, and many other jobs,” said Arthur.

It became very clear that physical based programs that engage seniors to participate in activities that they can do comfortably, as well as non-sports like activities that also promotes social engagement is a priority at the senior centre. The centre acknowledges the birthdays of their members, informs them of the special visits from local nurses, maintains a monthly newsletter, and ultimately supports a group that truly cares about each other as they continue to nurture relationships that strengthen their physical and mental well-being.

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