The Houston Texans YMCA offers various opportunities for adults age 55 and better to stay active, engaged, and connected with others. ForeverWell aims to help alleviate increased social isolation among seniors by offering programs such as line dancing, bingo, healthy living and eating classes, and coffee chats.
Before COVID-19, the Houston Texans YMCA had over 200 actively engaged older adults. The robust program was halted when the Houston Texans YMCA was forced to close its doors in March of 2020, along with many other businesses and nonprofit organizations. For many seniors in Greater Third Ward, the Houston Texans YMCA is more than just a gym. Older adults would commune at the center for hours connecting with their neighbors, family, and friends. Marion Battles, a member of the Houston Texans Y over six years, said, “I love the Houston Texans YMCA. I have missed hanging out with my friends.”
Several research studies demonstrate that loneliness and social isolation among older individuals are major public health concerns. Renea Steward, an active member and president of the local AARP chapter, said, “Maintaining good health is important to me. I missed water aerobics last year and working out at the YMCA.” Research has consistently shown that loneliness and social isolation have profound adverse effects on physical and mental health and mortality, particularly for those over 55. (Source: sprc.org/Reducing Loneliness and Social Isolation Among Older Adults)
Social isolation is a lack of community connections. According to the Centers for Disease Control, about 50% of the increased risk of dementia and other severe medical conditions is related to social isolation. Social isolation can lead to loneliness in some people, while others can feel lonely without being socially isolated. Loneliness is the feeling of being alone, regardless of the amount of social contact. (Source: CDC.Gov) Over one-quarter of Americans aged 65 and up are considered to be socially isolated. Individuals in this age range are more likely to experience many of the risk factors that can cause or worsen social isolation or loneliness, such as living alone, the loss of family or friends, chronic illness, and physical impairments.
The Houston Texans YMCA is seeking sponsorship to provide financial assistance to seniors who would like a membership. Senior memberships are $47 per month, and financial aid is available to those who qualify. Donations can be made in person (5202 Griggs Road, Houston, TX 77021) or online at https://www.justgiving.com/campaign/bethechange2021HoustonTexans .
Risk Factors for Loneliness and Social Isolation in Older Adults (Source: sprc.org/Reducing Loneliness and Social Isolation Among Older Adults) » Social: Living alone, loss of significant other, family separation, few friends, being a caregiver for a spouse » Psychological: Depression, anxiety, dementia » Physical: Poor health, serious illness, decreased mobility, loss of independence » Economic: Limited financial resources » Logistical: Loss of driver’s license, lack of transportation
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About Houston Texans YMCA
Located in the Palm Center at 5202 Griggs Rd. and Martin Luther King Blvd., the Houston Texans YMCA serves as a crown jewel for Houston’s historic Third Ward, Sunny Side, and South Park communities. The Houston Texans YMCA, along with other YMCA’s in the city, offer various programs for the entire family; ForeverWell, Group Exercise Classes, Personal Training, Youth Sports, Child Watch, and Y Teen L.I.F.E. Not a place. A purpose.