The first thing Carol noticed upon entering the Y was a white board with a quote she remembers penetrating her spirit: "I have decided to stick with love; hate is too great a burden to bear." (Martin Luther King Jr.)
Next came the cheery greeting from the membership staff as she scanned her card. After a short walk to the SilverSneakers room, she claimed an empty chair and waited for her classmates to arrive. When all the seniors were present, she immediately noticed all the special equipment some of them brought with them to the class. She saw canes, a crutch, wheeled walkers, and an electric wheelchair. One senior wore oxygen tubing in her nose which was attached to a canister by her chair. Carol struck up a conversation with a few seniors and was surprised to discover there was even more equipment involved, much of it hidden or worn internally, like a heart monitor, pace maker, and all kinds of metal joint repayments for knees and hips. There were hearing aids, eye glasses, and false teeth. This daunted no one. There was work to be done.
The instructor cheered the class on with peppy music and encouraging words while their bodies moved in time with the beat. "We were becoming stronger, more flexible while developing a better balance by moving here and there," she recalls. Friendships were formed as participants took interest in the lives of one another. "Seniors are such brave souls who refuse to give in to chronic diseases, diminishing strength, and deteriorating joints. They know that to give up and just stay home is the sure way to an unhappy shortened life. So if they come to use the YMCA'S equipment or come using their own equipment, they come faithfully and often to live a full and active life," says Carol.
Carol delights the staff with her exuberance and constant gratitude for their efforts: "Thank you, YMCA, for being there for us. We sincerely appreciate you and the great effort you give to help us maintain an active life style. May God bless you abundantly in the years to come."