One in three seniors lack companionship while one in four report loneliness.
Older adults who participate in senior center programs can delay the onset of chronic illnesses and improve their physical, mental social, spiritual, emotional and economic well-being. In fact, strong social connections can boost a person’s life span by 50%.
Equitable access to services and resources remains a challenge for many older adults living in the Lehigh Valley. This approach is centered in a commitment to a community hub model and place-based investments in areas with the highest concentration of older adults. Community hubs serve as a gathering and connection space as well as a way to connect older adults to available resources that can increase their quality of life.
Community hubs are easily accessible, have programming tailored to older adults, offer connections to healthy food and have staff that can connect older adults to health care and other resources.
United Way has established five new Community Hubs offering accessible programming, including food and health care services, that can increase seniors’ quality of life:
Casa Guadalupe Center
218 N. 2nd Street, Allentown
Easton Area Neighborhood Center
901 Washington Street, Easton
Greater Valley YMCA, Slate Belt Branch
315 W. Pennsylvania Avenue, Pen Argyl
United Way Community Hubs Improve Health for Older Adults
After having major leg surgery, Franchesca, age 63, feared she’d never walk without assistance again. After two years of struggling, she turned to her community and found fitness classes at the Greater Valley YMCA Slate Belt.
Greater Valley YMCA Slate Belt in Pen Argyl is a United Way Community Hub—an easily accessible gathering space with programming tailored to older adults. United Way Community Hubs offer connections to healthy food, health care and other resources that can increase quality of life. Participants delay the onset of chronic illnesses and improve their physical and mental health as well as their economic well-being.
After two years, Franchesca continues to attend at least two classes daily including dance fitness, Tai Chi and water aerobics. She celebrates every flight of stairs she climbs unassisted and gives back so Greater Valley YMCA Slate Belt can continue to provide classes and services.
The staff and members make me feel like family. Because of the ‘Y’, I’m mobile again.
Thanks to United Way supporters, the Greater Valley YMCA Slate Belt can offer enhanced fitness classes with upgraded equipment, provide classes for the whole family with garden beds and distribute produce boxes weekly allowing them to serve their members in different ways.
“I love coming to the Greater Valley YMCA to exercise, socialize and just have fun. I enjoy all of the classes, especially aerobics because I love to dance and keep moving.”
Slate Belt Resident