Senior citizens now can take greater control of their health through physical activity and social events at the Family Y in Thomson. The local facility now offers the SilverSneakers fitness program, which is covered by some insurance companies.
The program began last week and 29 people have already joined and participated, according to Thomson Family Y Executive Branch Director Dede Keir.
"It's my first day, so I'm expecting great things," Pat Eick said. "It was a tiny bit hard, but it felt good."
Eick had just finished the yoga fusion class last Friday, taught by Pecola Lane. During the class, Eick and her friends were joking that they were "glad the hospital is right across the street."
The SilverSneakers program provides classes exclusively for older adults who want to improve strength, flexibility, balance and endurance. Lane teaches the classes in Thomson, which include stretching, weights, yoga and cardio exercises.
"I have noticed a big difference in my flexibility. I can turn my head to look behind me when I'm driving, and I couldn't do that before," said Bill McCord. McCord said he has been in Lane's yoga class for almost three years and switched to the SilverSneakers class when it became available.
The program also provides use of the YMCA facility and members-only access to online support that can help members lose weight, quit smoking or reduce stress.
Keir said plans are to have local social activities that include physical activity.
Types of insurance that cover the costs are certain plans under AARP Medicare Complete from Secure Horizons, AARP Medicare Supplement, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Georgia, Health Spring, Humana, Southeast Community Care and WellCare of Georgia, Inc. Keir said people interested in joining must bring their insurance card to the Family Y and the staff will verify whether the program is covered.
The Family Y is located across the street from McDuffie Regional Medical Center on West Hill Street in Thomson.