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Creation of the Lunch Bunch Club
The Creation of the Aquadome Lunch Bunch Club
By Rochelle Darnell
Working with older adults has been a passion of mine for several years. Regardless of a person’s age, I come to realize, after retirement, most adults may need a little push to remain social, as well as physically and mentally active.
“The aging population, nationally and worldwide, is at the forefront of people's thoughts today. Developed nations worldwide are experiencing an "aging boom" as people are living longer. Nationally, estimates are that the number of people aged 65+ will grow to 80 million by the year 2050 with the fastest growing group being those aged 85+ (U.S. Census Bureau, 2004).” Over the next few years, it is estimated that senior adults may live as much as 23% of their life in retirement. http://www.sooperarticles.com/health fitness-articles
This information has made me ask, what will all these people do with their time and how will spare time affect the overall well-being of these adults? After all, most adults who were in the working class had a routine; a purpose to get out of bed each day. They went to their jobs where they had responsibilities and socialized with co-workers which helped create self-satisfaction after a day of hard work. After retirement, their normal work cycle is broken; they lose contact with friends and colleagues and often fall into the trap of isolation. This can lead to bouts of depression and other health problems due to lack of movement and motivation.
Physical activity relives stress, reduces body fat and the effects of heart disease, and has many other health benefits. Being involved in group exercise and other group activities also allows senior adults to make new friends and socialize, and reap health benefits at the same time.
It became my goal to create programming that would target the senior adult population and help break the chain of isolation and inactivity. This did not happen overnight. In the beginning, The Aquadome only offered water exercise classes a few times per week; this has been expanded to five days with a total of eight water exercise classes per week.
After a discussion with the class, it was decided to have a “one time” potluck lunch to allow the members to get to know each other a little better. This was a huge success and we learned how different all of us looked being in street clothing. The joke of the day became, “I didn’t recognize you with your clothes on.” The group realized that coming together for fellowship was a good thing. That one-time event led to a once per month pot luck which then progressed into a month’s worth of activities.
The Aquadome Lunch Bunch is a group of older adults who meet throughout the week for exercise, food, fun and fellowship. Although the water classes are scheduled for mornings, most other activities are scheduled at noon, thus the name, The Lunch Bunch Club. Participants are encouraged to bring a sack lunch to class and enjoy an afternoon of crafting, games and other events. Of course, socializing is an activity in itself and this group has transcended into a very tight Lunch Bunch that is always looking to expand its membership.
At least once per month, the group will venture away from the Aquadome Recreation Center for a day trip or to try a new restaurant. Other activities include arts and crafts, games, nutrition, seminars, potluck, BINGO, and a ladies movie night. This group also takes a few overnight trips throughout the year. For the summer, the Aquadome Lunch Bunch currently meets for the Concert by the River series each Monday night at Rhodes Ferry Park. The concert begins at 6pm.
There is no cost to be a member of the Lunch Bunch Club; however, individuals are responsible for all costs associated with scheduled activities, such as crafts and outings. There are many activities that are 100% free or have a small fee to cover expenses. You do not have to be a member of the exercise classes to participate in other Lunch Bunch Club activities. New members are always welcomed!
For more information concerning the Aquadome Lunch Bunch Club, and the exercise class fees and schedule, visit www.decaturparks.com or call 256-341-4950. To check out the Aquadome Lunch Bunch club page and access the monthly calendar of events, click HERE.
Rochelle Darnell is the Lunch Bunch Coordinator and Supervisor of the Aquadome Recreation Center.