Friday, November 15, 2019

Institute for Integrative Aging fosters a sense of community among young and old alike

The Institute for Integrative Aging (IIA) at Saint Joseph’s College hosted its first potluck for community members belonging to the Silver Sneakers program on November 1st of this year.

The harvest-themed gathering was held in Xavier Hall, the nearly century-old
Tudar-style estate located on campus that overlooks Sebago Lake. The Silver Sneakers
program, a nationally recognized health and fitness program developed by Tivity Health,
is just one aspect of the IIA.

“Our Silver Sneakers program is like no other as we are not only focusing on fitness, we are creating an environment that fosters a sense of community. Friendships and camaraderie among participants contribute to the overall feel” stated Heather DiYenno, Director of the program. “Our aim is to create an age-friendly intergenerational learning environment with a variety of enriching social and educational activities. We strive to include meaning, growth, involvement and sustainability in our curriculum.”

“I feel that a community is forming, and I am very happy to be a part of it. It’s nice to
have special events like this to look forward to,” stated one of the participants, Sheila Donahue
One added benefit of IIA is that students on campus are better prepared to support the aging population. Through a combination of innovative and experiential learning modalities, interpersonal relationships are formed between students and older adults on campus. We saw this in motion when a young man entered Xavier Hall carrying bags of food and a casserole for a community member. 

Consistent with the mission of the College, attendees not only brought along stunning casseroles, crockpots, and desserts, they also provided nonperishable items which were then donated to
the Standish Food Pantry.

Blossoms of Windham, a known entity within the community, donated a beautiful
centerpiece that was raffled as a door prize; Stephanie Bubier was the lucky recipient!

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