Provena adds Wellness Room to Center for Healthy Aging

By Megan Graham

Provena’s Center for Healthy Aging offered an open house Tuesday for its new office and Wellness Room, designed to help bring seniors medical help, social support and social activities.

“We want to be the hub that seniors can go to and feel comfortable and go to classes and get screenings and everything,” said Tom Cottrell, the Center’s HALO (Helping Achieve Life’s Objectives) coordinator. “We want to be the focal point for senior health.”

The open house featured a ribbon cutting ceremony and a blessing given by Father John Ugobueze, the vice president of Spiritual Care and Mission Integration at the Center. Seniors can also take advantage of free screenings and testings, cooking demonstrations, and performances by local musicians. Cottrell said the open house gives a look at what the Center is trying to accomplish.

“I believe that people are living longer, so by living longer you have that urge to stay healthy longer, that’s what our center is supposed to do, stay independently living as long as possible,” said Cottrell. “Our approach is holistic; mind and body.”

Martha Paap, director of the Center for Healthy Aging, said the Center will focus on helping seniors with their health. Seniors can take healthy cooking classes, exercise classes, and medical tests such as cholesterol checks, blood sugar screenings and heart risk exams.

“It’s more important than ever for seniors to be focused on their health,” Paap said. “Seniors are living longer, sometimes into their nineties, and their quality of life isn’t as good then.”

The Center will also aim to help seniors with their social lives, providing opportunities for luncheons, bus trips to places like Chicago or Indianapolis and, of course, bingo.

“They love bingo,” Paap said. “That’s always our most well-attended event. I don’t know what it is about bingo.”

Paap said these sort of activities help seniors to get out of their homes and make friends.

“It gets very difficult to stay active for seniors,” Papp said. “It helps to have programs to bring them out of their homes. I see that as a big problem, isolation.”

Annette Schoenberg of Urbana said it was very difficult for her as a senior to find fun things to do in town.

“I think I’m going to do a course on driving,” Schoenberg said.

Cynthia Lattimore of Urbana said she thought programs that helped seniors get out of the house were beneficial for their health and well-being.

“Seniors don’t get out,” Lattimore said. “They spend so much time on the phone confused and frustrated and they really don’t know what is there for them. If the information is right here for them, that gives them incentive to get what they need.”