Always on the move
Y celebrates its oldest members
Lee Evers (left), and his wife Lillian, at the Greenfield YMCA on Monday October 14 2013. Story by Anita Fritz
Lee Evers, of Montague, uses one of the cardio machines at the YMCA in Greenfield, Monday October 14 2013. Story by Anita Fritz
GREENFIELD — Lee Evers of Montague loves walking on a treadmill, lifting weights and socializing with other people his age. A World War II veteran, all of his peers are in their 90s.
“You have to move to stay fit,” said Evers on Monday morning, when the YMCA in Greenfield celebrated, with cake and coffee, the health and vitality of its nonagenarian members, all 21 of them, as part of its observance of Senior Week.
Jayne Trosin, the YMCA fitness director who works with the nonagenarians, said the oldest members seem to thrive and have a lot of fun while staying healthy.
“You have to keep busy and engaged,” said Evers.
About a dozen nonagenarians gathered at the Y to celebrate on Monday.
“We’d like to see more people your age join,” Y Executive Director Bob Sunderland told the small crowd. “People live longer when they take care of themselves. The secret to a long life is good health, and moving is part of that. If you sit in a rocking chair and give up, nothing good is going to happen.”
Sunderland told the Y’s oldest members to remind their friends that no one is ever too old to start exercising.
Al Monroe of Northfield, who turned 100 years old at the beginning of September, said the Greenfield Y celebrated his birthday in its Weight Room recently, because that’s where he spent a lot of time well into his 90s.
“I can’t exercise like I used to, but I still move around and try to do what I can,” said Monroe.
Monroe’s wife, Helen, who is 89, said she is looking forward to turning 90 so she can get a free membership.
“I still come here to exercise and socialize,” she said. “You have to to stay strong.”
Ethel “Risky” Case, 92, said she has been going to the Y since she moved to the area in 1965.
“Fourteen years ago I was taking classes here and met my partner,” she said. “Lots of good things happen here.”
The first female dean of Greenfield Community College said she loves water classes the most.
“You absolutely have to stay active by doing something you like,” she said.
Sarah Termo, 91, Agnes Truesdell, 93, and Noreen Torrey, 90, all said they have had to slow down and haven’t spent the kind of time they’d like to spend at the Y because of injuries, but said the local organization taught them to move, so they continue to do so at home.
Eleanor Ballard, 93, said she currently exercises at the hospital because of an injury, but learned her good exercise habits at the Y.
“I do all sorts of exercises here,” said Raymond “Sudsy” Dorhamer, 91, who was a mail carrier in Greenfield for many years. “My career was walking, so I’ve kept it up. I also use the stationary bikes and rowing machines here. You’ve got to keep limber.”
His friend Kenneth Brightman, 91, who was also a mail carrier in Greenfield at the same time Dorhamer was, said he uses the weight machines and treadmill as often as he can.
“Staying active helps you live longer,” he said. “It’s just that simple.”
Free at 90
The YMCA offers anyone 90 years old and older a free membership.
“We have a reduced membership for seniors who are age 65 through 79 and a larger, super discount for people 80 years old through 89 years old,” said Sunderland, who said the Y decided to offer its oldest members a free membership to keep them coming to exercise.
“We wanted to reward them for making such good choices and staying active for so long,” said Sunderland.
The YMCA will offer several other activities for all of its senior members over 60 this week, including a potluck luncheon on Wednesday from noon to 1 and a free functional fitness assessment and Senior Health Fair, cosponsored by Baystate Franklin Medical Center, on Friday from 9 to noon.
All week, there will be free coffee and blood pressure checks from 9 to 11 a.m. at the Y, and seniors over 50 may try different classes, including group exercise, yoga, Pilates and water fitness for free.
BFMC and Baystate Health Ambulance will discuss stroke prevention and recognition on Friday at the fair. There will also be healthy food and snack ideas, massage and Reiki, aromatherapy, oral and foot health information, blood pressure and bone density screenings, hearing tests by Avada, and more.
For more information, call the YMCA at 413-773-3646, ext. 448.