Our Focus: Health & Wellness

The Broken Arrow Senior Center is one of the best 55+ facilities in the country and a huge asset for residents. The Center is constantly adapting to the changing needs of our members to provide the best possible programs and services. The Center serves as a focal point in the community for quality emotional, intellectual, physical and social health.

One of our priorities is to provide members with more wellness-related education and access to preventive health care. In the past few months, we’ve expanded our wellness sessions by adding a variety of resources on subjects such as heart health, vision, hearing, foot care and osteoporosis.

The focus on increasing the overall health and wellness of our members is centered in four areas:

Emotional health – Participation in Center activities helps our members feel positive about their selves and about life, which contributes to their overall emotional well-being. Members make friends and contacts and interact with people who become their extended family.

Intellectual health – Our members can expand their knowledge, skills and abilities while discovering the potential for sharing one’s gifts with others. All our activities have activity leaders who step up to share their talents with others.

Physical health – A person’s health can show marked improvement through the Center’s nutrition program, fitness room and more than a dozen exercise classes. We’re not going to experiment with duplicate bridge Zumba or tai chi dominoes, but you’ll find there are plenty of activities to participate in to make positive strides toward your physical health goals.

Social health – Personal interaction leads to personal satisfaction when our members contribute to their community. Involvement in Center programs and a commitment to continuous learning leads to an enriched and fulfilling life.

We hope you can see that we are committed to delivering on our promise to improve the overall health and wellness of our members. We’ll provide the access and opportunity – it is up to you to engage, get involved, embrace change and take charge of your life.

The Future is Already Here

How do you answer this question: “Where do you see yourself in three years?”

This can feel like a bit of a trick question, because if you are interviewing for a new position, sometimes the answer is “not in this job.” In couples counseling, the answer might be “not in this relationship.” And in life, maybe the best response is “at a bigger, better opportunity elsewhere.”

The Broken Arrow Senior Center is facing the same question, and our response will – and should – be framed with input from our current and future members.

Before you know it, there will be an additional BA Senior Center building across Main Street. This will give us the opportunity to better serve older adults in our community. And, quite frankly, we need the room now.

Come to one of our Zumba classes and you’ll find space is at a premium. At line dancing, you might have to share a line with someone else. Yoga and tai chi are other activities with lots of interest among our members.

Join in our crochet, quilting or crafting activities, and you’ll see that we’ve expanded beyond the four walls of the classroom.

Some days the domino and card room is nearly standing room only. Our community events like Bunco sell out in record time.

We have to ask the question of where we see the Broken Arrow Senior Center in three years, but we need to ask that question today. We have to set a course for how we are going to get there in 36 months in order to be prepared when that time arrives.

Without generous support from community volunteers, our activities and programs wouldn’t be possible.

From teaching a class to helping us improve and expand our services, there are many ways to get involved. If you have specific input on where you see the BA Senior Center in several years, please stop in and let me know your thoughts and ask your questions.

There’s so much energy and excitement about what the Broken Arrow Senior Center already is, where BASC is going and what it can be as an organization. I’m really looking forward to being part of it. I hope you are as well.

We’re Making Life a Little Easier for Our Members

Member experience embodies someone’s entire journey with the BA Senior Center – from first becoming a member to, hopefully, many years of membership. To create the best member experience, we need to continually learn more about our members – who they are, their motivations and concerns.

During the past month, BA Senior Center staff conducted some in-depth intel so we could better understand how members sign in at the self-service kiosks. In many cases, we empathized with them. It was frustrating.

There were too many choices from which to pick. Some of the activities seemed outdated or wrong. There weren’t clear boxes to mark when you selected your activity or activities. Scrolling was difficult. And the system would time out if you weren’t fast enough.

We heard questions like, “If there are 15 activities today, then why are there 60 choices?” and “Is pool the pool room or is there a hidden swimming pool?” and “Why is this system so slow when it is supposed to save time?”

We asked, we listened and we watched. Then we acted.

What you will find now is an updated self-service system. It runs better. There are fewer choices – and the choices correspond to what is actually offered that day. There are clear boxes to check and no scrolling.

So if the kiosks look a little different, this is intentional. This is one of several improvements we are making to improve your overall member experience. More will roll out in the coming months. We hope you notice the positive changes.

Limited Exercise Has Limitless Benefits

Staying active is a core component of supporting your overall health and quality of life as you age. It is the key to maintaining your independence as well as your physical, social and emotional health.

Mobility can be impacted by injury, disability, illness (diabetes or arthritis) or weight problems. Fortunately, much of the decline in mobility is reversible, and there are many ways you can exercise and get moving. Exercise can even ease depression, enhance your self-esteem and relieve stress and anxiety.

If you’ve met me, it’s obvious that I need to exercise more. I used to collect half marathon medals. However, the last 10 years I’ve collected several spinal surgeries.

Based on the first two paragraphs of this column, injury and weight gain aren’t good enough excuses to explain a lack of exercise on my part – especially since we have nine exercise classes to choose from and a fitness center here at the BA Senior Center.

One of our fitness classes is Limited Exercise. Well, that pretty much sums me up. Sean Simpson = Limited Exercise. The activity leader, Gary Siftar, has invited me several times to attend the class and I finally did. It was a wonderful experience.

We started with deep breathing – I actually relaxed – then moved on to basic stretching. You just do what you can to keep things moving, like improving motion slowly. The majority of the class involves seated chair exercises that work different muscle groups in the body.

We took a jar of peanut butter off the shelf and opened it (You’ll have to come to class to understand). We marched (basic training without the 50-pound pack) and worked on balance.

The class had people from 55 to 92 years of age. Everyone was kind, welcoming and inspirational. Three participants had walkers and four had canes. I visited with a classmate who since taking the class has moved from a walker to a cane to requiring no assisting device at all.

I even received some sage advice when leaving the class: “Be proud of yourself when you exercise. You’ll get stronger the more you work at it. And it’ll get easier the more you practice.”

I’m not running a marathon anytime soon (or ever), but I’ll be back to Limited Exercise.

Come join me.

Sean Simpson