KINGSTON, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — We know the value of staying active during the COVID pandemic, but doing so has proven to be more difficult for many seniors. It’s why a local program that targets wellness activities and services for this age group is encouraging participation.
This mid-afternoon meditation and exercise program at Geisinger 65 Forward is called ChairiYoga. It’s tailored for people like Frank and Betsy Balara. The couple in their 70s are among members who have been looking forward to this session.
“I think it’s so important that older people exercise,” Betsy said.
But exercising inside this facility is something the Balaras and other members couldn’t do until this week because of pandemic precautions. The staff had to figure out how to resume in a safe manner.
Unlike before the pandemic, changes are in place for activities like this. It requires pre-registration and as you can see on the floor, safe practices are highly encouraged.
“We’re following all of the CDC guidelines. You know, we’re very diligent with sanitation and cleaning and following all of the social distancing recommendations so it’s a good place for them to come,” Wendi Cerr-Hand, Wellness Coordinator for Geisinger 65 Forward, said.
While other activities work on strength and hand-eye coordination, ChairiYoga is designed to improve seniors’ flexibility and balance.
“Our balance is not quite what it used to be when we were younger so to improve our mobility, to improve our balance and fall reduction is key,” Dr. Jovan Adams, Family Medicine Physician, Geisinger 65 Forward, said.
Good for body, good for mind.
“They can be around other people their age that have similar interests and ability levels and I think that makes them feel more comfortable. And it’s a safe environment,” Cerr-Hand said.
“I know I just think it gave me more energy. It gives you more energy when you exercise,” Betsy Balara said.
Gesinger announced this week it will expand its 65 Forward program to new locations in Wilkes-Barre and West Hazleton in the fall. The 65 Forward program is currently enrolling new patients. Those interested in enrolling can call 570-740-3096 or click here for more information.