WILKES-BARRE — The Jewish Community Center has received approval to add programming that will benefit older adults.
The social, educational and recreational hub, located at 60 S. River St., plans to offer Silver Sneakers classes, for adults 60 and over, starting sometime in mid-June.
Sharon Matylewicz, of Old Forge, has held the position of senior resource care coordinator/wellness coordinator since July, and she’s been trying to expand classes offered by the JCC since the beginning of this year.
At the suggestion of Associate Director Rick Evans, Matylewicz applied for and was granted approval to offer Silver Sneakers programs at the JCC — a feat she said was attempted previously without success.
“I don’t know what the hurdles were in the past, but we got accepted now, so we’re pretty excited about it,” Matylewicz said.”
Facilitated by Tivity Health, Silver Sneakers membership is offered through insurance agencies.
“Some might offer it free of charge,” Matylewicz said. “Others might charge a fee, but they reimburse you throughout the year.”
The JCC, Matylewicz said, will not charge a fee, because Tivity Health will reimburse them after members use the facility.
Personal trainers from the JCC will complete certification courses where they will learn to proctor three Silver Sneakers formats.
The classic format, Matylewicz said, focuses on strength and balance — often working with balls and bands — while the circuit format is more cardio intensive and the splash format stresses aquatic aerobics and resistance training.
“We have to have at least two Silver Sneakers formats in our exercise schedule,” Matylewicz said.
Personal trainer Debbie Grossman said Silver Sneakers programs are “basically” designed to enhance the ability of older adults to perform everyday movements with ease.
“As we get older, we lose balance and strength, so the emphasis is placed on balance, strength, flexibility and agility exercises,” Grossman said. “Stretching and weight resistance exercises are critically important to keeping fit as you age.”
Grossman said exercise should be fun and social while working to improve health.
“When you have senior citizens doing exercise, they’d like to be around people their age,” Matylewicz said. “Not everyone exercises at the same capacity. (The classes) are very accommodating to what the needs of the individuals are.”
She added that Silver Sneakers is a well-known, reputable program she expects to attract members to the JCC.
“If you are a Silver Sneakers member, you can come in and take advantage of all the classes we offer and use any part of the facility,” Matylewicz said.
Other programs offered by the JCC include Geri-Fit, yoga and cycling.
On June 7, the facility will host a senior fitness and health day, which will feature two fitness classes from 10 to 10:30 a.m. and 11 to 11:45 a.m., a healthy lunch and blood pressure screenings.
JCC personal trainers will be attending Silver Sneakers certification courses on June 11, and Matylewicz expects Silver Sneakers programs to begin the following week.