Thursday, June 18, 2009

Seniors Steppin' Out in Atlanta

The fact that we are seniors, my sister, BJ Holmes, her friend Wilda hadn't crossed my mind as we gathered for a day together. And yet that fact influences our lives in a variety of ways. How one gets about and what form of transportation are based on ones level of ability/disability. Where one can go and how long for a senior is based on ones stamina and how the body is feeling on any particular day. Responses to how are you? might be followed by, "a day above ground is a good day." If this sounds morbid it does not have to if one fully embraces life as senior with gusto.

The "S" word - senior can be a wonderful time of life if we get on top of things and make some adjustments. Exercise, nutritional eating, a strong and healthy support network and fulfilling work - paid or unpaid can keep an individual vital and rejuvenated. A healthy outlook helps maintain a life sustaining perspective during the senior years. Identifying those issues that you might need to pay particular attention to can determine whether your senior years are a blessing or curse. In the days to come I will be talking about life as a senior and posting some reflections. Meanwhile, join me on a day in the life of three seniors.

So, we got together for a day on the town. It started with a big breakfast at the Helene S. Mills Multi-purpose Facility where we had a great breakfast $3 for individuals 60 and over and $2 for 55 years and under. The Facility is quite impressive. Go to for a look. It has a staff of 35 ranging from the Senior Services Manager to the Yoga Instructor. Activities include clubs such as book, bowling, gardening, and toastmasters. Classes, too many to name ranged from computer classes, aquatics to foreign languages.

Wilda and BJ signed up for a spiritual health and wellness class. All three of us had chair massages for $1 a minute. I was greedy and had a 15 minute one. From there we went downtown to pick up some information from the Council on Aging. If you are a senior 60 and over then you may want to investigage what services and benefits are available to you.

We ran some errands that included a trip to the bank and CVS. I enlisted BJ and Wilda's assistance on a shopping excursion to help me find a couple of outfits.Life on a fixed income for some seniors means really pinching pennies and being frugal. Planning for the future is important. Fortunately, I am still working and investing into my 401k.

Shopping made us hungry and so we drove over to Fish Supreme in the West End. By then it was time for me to head home so I could pack for my flight back to Chicago.

I had a great weekend visiting with family.Perhaps next time I will even get to see some of my friends. lol

As a single woman that will celebrate my 61st birthday this year, living a full life is the important lesson I leave you with. I saw individuals at the Mills Facility doing exactly that! I invite you to think about what that would look like for you.

Q. When was the last time you took time to just enjoy life and do nothing? What are some ways that you can keep doing that? What would need to happen for more leisure time and family time to be available to you?

Blessings! Rev. Qiyamah

The sign reads, "Proudly Made in Georgia"! Like most cities in our country seniors constitue a large percentage of the population in Georgia. So besides peanuts and peaches, Georgia grows its unique brand of seniors. Come with us for a day in the life of a senior.

Every community should have a Y. The intergenerational focus of the Y allows a diverse age spectrum to receive services. Programs like theY also help to build community by bringing community members together in healthy and constructive ways.

Affordable housing is an essential component to ensuring seniors quality of life. The Renaissance is a seniors building where my sister lives. She has a nice 2 bedroom apartment with 2 baths that she has comfortably furnished. The building is fully staffed and includes a staff person responsible for generating activities. Besides apartments, the building includes: a beauty salon, laundry rooms in the individual apartments and communal laundry space, library, outwork room, community center, and a media room. Rent is based on ones income.

Ms. BJ Holmes. If you want to know anything about seniors then this is the lady to ask! She is a strong advocate on behalf of seniors and you want her on your side in a fight! While she wears many hats her work as Chair of the Commission on Aging is some of her most important and rewarding work.Seniors call her for everything from how to idenify services to helping to fill out paperwork.

L-R BJ Holmes, Rev. Qiyamah and Wilda Lunching at Fish Supreme on Ralph David Abernathy in the West End. Their fish is supreme! It has no ambiance. It is small but nice and clean.

I met this gentleman at the Mills Multipurpose Seniors Center. He is a widower and has five daughters. I asked him to show me his scape book that his daughters had given him for his birthday. He is retired from the Board of Education.

The Mills multipurpose Senior Center is a place where seniors can come for classes ranging from computers to spiritual healing which my sister, BJ signed up for. We had a delicious breakfast for less than $4 each. The building is very nice and I could see myself utilizing its services if I were a senior and if I lived in Atlanta.

Seniors were signing up for classes through a lottery system. My number was called and I gave it to BJ.

L-R BJ Holmes and Dr. Ayers. He was there to advertise his chiropractic services. He and Betty hit it off!

James Finley, my oldest daughters father at her and her boyfriends house cooling out.

Bro. Jabari, a masseur, is working his magic.

Wilda, a friend of BJ's and resident of the Renaissance.

BJ watching a movie at the end of a long day. In a little while she will head home and start all over again tomorrow.

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