Released 9 May 2014
Bringing Health and Happiness to Senior Citizens
In the words of author Betty Friedan, "Aging is not lost youth but a new stage of opportunity and strength." Unfortunately, many senior citizens throughout the Delaware Valley lack the care and companionship they need to make the most of their golden years. Thankfully, the dedicated group of staff members and volunteers at The Salvation Army are working to change that.
Through their senior citizen programs, The Salvation Army Roxborough Corps Community Center helps seniors stay healthy and active while building valuable friendships. The center offers a wide array of diverse activities for approximately 60 active members, including exercise classes, game nights, musical performances, arts and crafts, and field trips.
The center also makes an effort to introduce new and innovative activities for members. Educational programs allow seniors to explore new topics such as a recent Earth Day seminar where attendees learned about the carbon footprint of their homes and the importance of recycling. Seniors enjoy game nights with a variety of activities including bingo, puzzle games, Family Feud, and Nintendo Wii. Aside from game nights and educational sessions, the program hosts special performances, including the Mummers, dance groups, a concert pianist and most recently, a magician.
"Our seniors still can't stop talking about the magic show," said Major Bonnie Snyder, commanding officer at The Salvation Army Roxborough Corps Community Center. "We try to provide unique activities that help our seniors enjoy themselves and build friendships."
The Salvation Army also hosts men's and women's Bible study sessions for the seniors with special prayer requests and devotions led by Major Snyder and her husband Major Glenn Snyder. The spiritual portion of the program gives seniors a support network that helps them deal with hardship and loss.
"They tell me all the time that they enjoy the spiritual aspects of the program," said Snyder. "They appreciate the caring environment that we have here, and our willingness to help them pray in a time of need."
The program's ability to build strong and valuable friendships is evidenced by a group of seniors known as the "Ever-Young Club." The club is comprised of men and women ages 55 and older who hold weekly gatherings and have been attending the program for many years. The club bolsters a strong dedication to consistent exercise and a love of travel. Group trips take them anywhere from Sights and Sounds Theatre in Center City for a play, to Shady Maple in Lancaster for the occasional meal.
What truly makes the group unique is the strength of their small community bond. From checking-in on each other to celebrating birthdays, the group forms a type of family. No story exemplifies this bond more than that of Janet, a woman who was introduced to the group by a friend and quickly became one of the program's most devoted members. When Janet's daughter passed away a few years ago, the first person she called was to Major Bonnie Snyder.
"The friendship and support from the group really helped Janet through such a difficult time," said Major Snyder. "She is now very active in the program and volunteers her time at the center, even helping children with assignments and teaching them crafts at Homework Club."
Like Janet, many seniors also embrace the volunteer aspect of the program. Seniors volunteer in a variety of ways, including helping prepare materials for care centers, volunteering at the nursery during worship, wrapping gifts for delivery, and helping children with assignments at the Homework Club.
During the summer months, the Roxborough Corps Community Center also hosts the Senior Day Camp. The day camp, now in its 3rd year, prides itself on fellowship and togetherness, and has received a great response from local seniors in the past. Throughout the day, seniors take part in multiple activities, such as arts and crafts, games, and day trips.
The Salvation Army continues to provide programming to help make a difference in the lives of seniors by keeping them in good health and good spirits. If you know a loved one who would be interested in the senior programming, please call 215-483-4120 for more information.