YMCA plans include more activities for older members

By Danielle Thomas - bio | email

OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) -  Plans are underway to bring more opportunities for baby boomers and senior citzens to get out and get moving. The YMCA in Ocean Springs is remodeling one of its buildings into an Active Adult Center that will focus on providing social and educational activities for members ages 55 and up.

At 74 years old, Rick Hollem is one of the regulars at the YMCA gym.

"If I had known I was going to last this long I would have taken better care of myself,"said Hollem.

Soon the Ocean Springs Y will have more to offer its older members. The staff says what was a largely unused space is being transformed into an Active Adult Center. Early next year, people will be able to go there to take computer and photography classes, attend bible study, play a game of bridge or just spend time with friends.

Nancy Hudlow directs the program. "We've got so many active adults here at the Y. Approximately one third of our membership is made up with them. They're very involved and they love to go and do and participate. They need an area to go and socialize. This is offering it to everyone."

One difference YMCA members will notice when the new active adult center opens is brand new exercise equipment specially designed for people just starting their exercise program.

"It will be very easy. It will be lighter," said Dan Hecker, YMCA president. "They can adjust the pressure of the resistance as opposed to lead plates so it will easier on the joints and I think they will enjoy it."

The YMCA staff says as people age, it's important that they stay connected to others. That's what this center will be all about.

"I've seen people just blossom," said Hudlow. "I get all choked up thinking about it. It just has allowed them to have an opportunity to be part of a group."

The Active Adult Center is set to open January 7th. The YMCA is asking for the public's help with donations of furniture, paint, and cleaning supplies.