Published : Friday, September 27, 2019 | 5:09 AM
It’s never too late, says Pasadena’s Senior Center, to enjoy a good life that’s healthy and fulfilling — and Center’s team is ready to show seniors how during Age Well Day on Saturday, Sept. 28.
“There is no magic pill that can take the place of exercise and other life-sustaining activities for older adults,” said Akila Gibbs, executive director of the Pasadena Senior Center. “It is never too late to begin, so we’re offering this fun and informative day to help everyone get motivated and move toward healthier, more fulfilling lifestyles.”
In today’s day and age as seniors are younger in attitude, sedentary activities take a back seat to an active lifestyle, she said.
“We have pictures from the founding of the Pasadena Senior Center 60 years ago, and at that time, the women used to come in wearing lace gloves,” said Charmaine Nelson, associate director of marketing, communications, and database management at the Center. “Today, seniors are coming in workout clothes. Our workout equipment is designed for older adults, and we offer so many activities, we have French classes, Spanish and dance classes and even ballroom dance.”
The Pasadena Senior Center is holding Age Well Day on Saturday and it’s an opportunity for people to participate in a new celebration of aging.
“Aging doesn’t mean life is ending, but a different phase is opening,” said Annie Laskey, director of events at the Center. “I think there are a lot of different types of seniors. I met a woman at the senior games who took up shot put at 87 years old.”
Everything related to Age Well is about vitality and staying active, whether it’s the senior games or the people coming for watercolor class, Laskey said.
“We have accountants by trade who have gotten tremendous enjoyment out of watercolor painting and their artwork is hanging in the lounge,” Laskey said.
“We’re looking to showing all the different ways the Pasadena Senior Center helps local seniors age well,” Nelson said. “We have a little of everything for people to participate in. We have dance and fitness classes, we have food and great programs. On Age Well Day, lectures and classes are from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and the afternoon is a dance party. Dance is a big part of what we do here. From salsa to ballroom to disco, dance for a couple of hours and it’s a great feeling.”
Laskey said that she, too, is a young senior and wanted to take up ballroom dancing at the senior center and while she is one of the youngest in the class, she sees how graceful aging in action can be.
“One of our best dancers in the class is 90,” she said.
Nelson said people enjoy coming to the senior center because they make an entirely new group of friends.
“One of our seniors, Juliet, she talks about how she has an entirely new circle of friends who are interested in a whole new variety of things,” she said. “She’s got a whole new set of friends.”
There are new rules that go with aging. One of them is you don’t have to be technology illiterate.
“People have questioned our approach in adopting our Pinterest, Twitter and Facebook,” Nelson said. “But every Wednesday they open an email to find out what’s going on next week. Being a senior does not mean not using technology.”
Laskey said the people who are older than 50 develop a sympatico towards others that perhaps was not there in earlier years.
“One of the things we see in the senior community is there’s a thoughtfulness that once they’ve been through half a century of life, it connects them,” she said. “It doesn’t stop them from doing things face to face and doing things with each other. It’s not the same as what I have read about the younger people who are isolating, because of the technology. The seniors are using technology as a tool, it’s more of ‘What’s going on next?’”
The Center offers a variety of services, classes and social opportunities but there is no financial support from the City.
“One of the most important things is, we are not funded by the City or the county and we want to remind people of that,” Nelson said. “We’re doing everything we can to keep our fees affordable. We are reaching out to the community that this jewel of the Pasadena Senior Center is here and needs support. We’re here every day, closed three days a year we are a vital community asset that people can invest in and lives are being enriched.”
The Center does not hold fundraisers but instead depends on private donors. In 2020 there will be a recognition of 60th anniversary which will include a number of events.
Laskey said the Center is fortunate to have people who want to help.
“In trying to do the most we can in the most fiscally responsible way, we have a lot of volunteers who give enormously of their time,” she said. “We have 400 active volunteers and a really tremendous staff. ”
“There’s a growing need for services for older adults,” Nelson said. “There are more seniors in the community of Pasadena than there are children. We make sure services are here and available during the silver tsunami.
The silver tsunami is the term for the phenomenon that every day 10,000 people are turning 65 in this country, Nelson said. And the factoid that Pasadena has more seniors than children comes directly from the 2010 census.
Another positive about the Senior Center is the engagement with younger people.
“One program we do in collaboration with young people is ‘Sages and Speakers,’ where adults meet with high school students,” Nelson said. “They share stories and over time, seniors do provide advice and the seniors get a lot of energy from the students.”
She added that the center has had a longstanding relationship with Pasadena High School through which the students can get their community service hours.
Another benefit: You don’t have to live in Pasadena to enjoy the benefits the Senior Center offers.
“We have people who come from the West Side on the Metro,” Laskey said. “They really make the effort.”
On Saturday the Center will have lectures, workshops, classes and activities highlighting ways for older adults to stay physically and mentally active. Programs include safety tips from the Pasadena Fire Department, healthy cooking demonstrations, dancing and exercise mini-classes, a lecture by popular KUSC morning host Alan Chapman on the benefits of music, and more.
Breakfast snacks and light lunch are included.
In the afternoon, the fun continues with a dance party featuring salsa, ballroom, and line-dancing music played by Eric Torres. The dance will be held in the air-conditioned Scott Pavilion from 1:30 pm – 3:30 p.m.