‘We must keep moving’: Hudson County senior centers begin to reopen, helping seniors

Even the COVID-19 pandemic and the New Jersey lockdown couldn’t stop Renee Agathos from exercising.

For months, while the town’s senior center remained closed, Agathos, 73, met other seniors to organize social-distancing outdoor exercise classes at the town’s swimming pool, ” even last year when the pandemic was at its worst, ”she said.

But she was relieved when earlier this month the city’s senior center reopened for indoor fitness classes.

“It’s very important to me,” Agathos said. “We have to keep moving forward. Do not stop.

As vaccination rates across the state soar, schools and businesses have reopened. But many seniors’ centers in the county have remained closed, even though seniors were among the first in New Jersey state to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

Now, Hudson County senior centers are slowly starting to reopen, much to the relief of its elders, who have been forced to adjust to the lockdown.

On Thursday, Agathos was one of about 20 older people, all women, performing leg lifts and weights in the main building on Secaucus’ Center Avenue.

“I’ve been doing this for 14 years,” said Frances Mastropietro, one of the older people in the class. “My doctor told me, ‘Your abdominal muscles – it’s like a 20 year old. “

During the pandemic, Mastropietro adapted by going up and down the stairs at her home.

“You felt guilty if you didn’t,” she said.

“I’m very happy,” said another Secaucus senior, who did not give her name. “It was difficult with the mask because you sweat underneath. And with glasses they fog up and I can’t see But I’m glad we’re almost back to normal and things are happening. “

The Secaucus’ Center Avenue senior center reopened on May 3 to host yoga, bingo and aerobics sessions. The center also hosts shopping expeditions, and on weekends, seniors head to malls and casinos. However, collective meals and weekly lunches in restaurants have not resumed.

“We’re not business as usual, but we’re back to getting things done,” said Lisa Snedeker, Director of Seniors and Community Services at Secaucus. “We try to practice safe things, but we also start to feel normal.”

Elderly people living in communities became eligible for the vaccine in the first round of eligibility in December, alongside health workers. All seniors became eligible on January 14.

According to state dataHudson County’s smallest town, East Newark, leads the county in senior immunization, with 89% of its residents 65 and over fully vaccinated. Jersey City, Hudson’s largest municipality, comes in behind with 59% of seniors vaccinated.

Other county municipalities are also preparing to resume senior programming. Bayonne’s 56th Street senior center will reopen on May 24 with outdoor programs, and the city plans to resume swimming programs at DiDomenico’s municipal swimming pool over the summer.

Officials in northern Bergen plan to open centers for the elderly “next month,” a township spokesperson said. “Details are still being worked out to ensure the safety of residents and the sustainability of the programs.”

Jersey City plans to restart senior programming “once federal and state guidelines permit,” a Jersey City spokeswoman said. “In the meantime, the city has met a 300% increase in demand for in-home meals for our residents throughout this pandemic, and will continue with meal delivery services and virtual programs until the restrictions are lifted and our seniors feel comfortable returning to town. run programs. “

Hoboken plans to host a barbecue in the coming weeks to kick off the reopening of its programming, although no date has been set. In Union City, senior citizens’ centers have been open since July with reduced programming. Currently, the city offers aerobics, yoga, ceramics and literacy classes for the elderly.

“It is so important that the city provides recreational opportunities for seniors, especially after being home, often alone, for so many months during the height of the pandemic,” Union City Mayor Brian Stack said, in a press release. “Providing programs to our seniors is essential to their mental and physical health and gives them social engagement.”

In Secaucus, Agathos agrees.

“It’s good for our mind, it’s good for our body, and it’s good for our soul,” she said.

About Marion Alexander

Check Also

60 best gifts for home cooks in 2022

Old World Christmas / Uncommon Goods For those unfamiliar with cooking, it can be difficult …

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.