By Michelle Singleton, Director of the Bernice Fonteneau Senior Wellness Center, and Teresa Moore, Director of the Hattie Holmes Senior Wellness Center
The pandemic has been tough on all of us, and especially isolating for older adults. During the early months of the pandemic, one in four people over the age of 65 reported experiencing anxiety and depression. Some of the causes for this significant increase include social isolation, loneliness, bereavement, and the stress of trying to stay safe from the virus.
With the availability of the vaccine and social restrictions diminishing, many older adults are now seeking opportunities to reconnect and eliminate the physical and mental effects of anxiety and depression.
Here are five great ideas to combat these symptoms and revive your social life:
- Get back into the swing of things: Mary’s Center is here for you! We manage two senior wellness centers in DC – Hattie Holmes and Bernice Fonteneau. Both of these centers offer free in person and virtual opportunities for adults 60 years of age or older to exercise, learn health and nutrition information, play games, dance, or learn a new skill together. The centers are open and have safety protocols in place for staff and participants. See more below on how to get involved.
- Check in with your provider: Some emotional issues may cause physical symptoms. Mary’s Center offers comprehensive care for seniors and our geriatrician, Dr. Laura Blinkhorn, can ensure you have no health conditions brought on by the physical stress of anxiety or depression. Schedule an appointment today by calling 844-796-2797.
- Have a conversation with a mental health therapist: Share your feelings and thoughts to manage and cope with challenging circumstances. Sleeplessness or over-sleeping, lethargy, loss of appetite or increased appetite, increased alcohol consumption, loss of interest in activities once enjoyed, isolation, or thoughts of self-harm or suicide can all be symptoms of anxiety and depression, and indicators of the need for intervention. Call us at 844-796-2797 and we’ll be happy to help you overcome any of these challenges.
- Try a class virtually or in-person to stretch your body and brain: The senior wellness centers offer free fitness classes for all ability levels, including line dancing, yoga, Pilates, chair aerobics, Tai Chi, or arthritis exercise. There are also activities that help older adults stay mentally engaged such as brain gym, puzzles, cultural trips, or learning a skill like quilting or arts and crafts.
- Lend a helping hand: Volunteer to connect with peers in-person or virtually to share a laugh or conversation. Form peer group that can meet up in the park for a walk, hang out on Zoom for a book club or game night, or just chat on the phone regularly to ensure that others are not suffering from isolation.
Our senior wellness centers meet you where you are with services and activities tailored to your needs. Ready to get started? Seniors can walk in to complete an intake form Monday through Friday, 8:30am-4:00pm. Come say hi – we hope to see you soon!
Bernice Fonteneau Senior Wellness Center (Ward 1)
- Address: 3531 Georgia Avenue NW Washington, DC 20010
- Phone Number: 202-727-0338
Hattie Holmes Senior Wellness Center (Ward 4)
- Address: 324 Kennedy Street NW Washington, DC 20011
- Phone Number: 202-291-6170