As a new widower, Jack first came into Sam Field’s Neighborhood Senior Center to learn about becoming a member. During his intake interview, Jack shared that his beloved wife of 60 years, Barbara, had passed away three weeks earlier after a long illness. He told us his daughter suggested he come to the Senior Center as a way to get out of the house, make new friends and take classes.
From his very first day, Jack immersed himself in every program offered. Like a new student in high school, he carried the program schedule in his pocket and referred to it throughout the day. Jack said, “My favorite programs are the exercise classes, especially Zumba. After exercise is lunch and that’s also great.”
Only a few weeks after he joined the Center, Jack slipped on a patch of ice and broke his leg but before you knew it, he was back attending exercise classes, discussion groups, and lunch. Prior to the coronavirus pandemic, you could find Jack in the lobby when he wasn’t in a class. He became an “unofficial greeter” letting his classmates know which room they were assigned to. He would share the news of the day while waiting for his first exercise class.
During the pandemic when all programming moved from in-person to virtual, Jack continued to participate in the weekly “Explore Jewish Culture” and “Challenges of Aging” discussion groups via telephone. He also received prepared meal deliveries.
When asked what he would say to a potential new member of the Senior Center, he didn’t hesitate. “Register. If you’re 60 years old or older go and register. They have classes, exercise, meals, and entertainment. Where could you get a place like that? During the pandemic, knowing I was getting meals delivered and could connect with Elise and my friends helped me a lot.” Jack continued, “You also make a lot of friends. They call me and I call them, that is something. I’m really attached to the Senior Center, I try not to miss a day. I’m looking forward to coming back.”