Here at the Ann Arbor Senior Center we welcome our members to engage with one another through their creative outlets. This month we are featuring an article by Libby Howell that discusses the helpful benefits that technology provides to staying connected in a pandemic
How Technology is Helping You Stay Connected During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Author: Libby Howell
The world we live in continues to become more interesting by the day, and nowhere is that more prevalent than in the ways we spend time with family during the COVID-19 pandemic. For aging adults looking for ways to connect with their loved ones in meaningful ways, technology has never been more important. Let's take a look at several ways technology can help you shoo away the COVID-19 blues and strengthen family bonds even when you can't meet your loved ones face to face.
Getting together physically with your family may not be possible during the current climate. Whether you live far away from loved ones, making airline travel challenging, or you are isolating at home due to the pandemic, you don't have to go long without seeing your grandchildren's faces when technology is on your side.
Video conferencing technology has been helping the business world maintain relationships, and you can do the same with your family. Using video chatting tools like Zoom or FaceTime can help you get together with your loved ones. Even if it isn't the same as a hug, getting to see their faces and hear their voices in real-time can make a difference — not to mention that a lot of these tools are incredibly easy to use. You don't even need to download Zoom, if one of your family members has it already. You only need to click on the link and your internet browser (i.e., Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, or Microsoft Edge) will do the rest.
Getting in the game
Technology has, quite literally, changed the world — and especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. In October 2020, a McKinsey Global Survey of high-level company executives found that, by and large, companies have embraced technologies more than ever before during this time, and much more quickly than they had even imagined possible before the pandemic.
All of that is to say: Having the right tools for video chatting is something you may want to consider. You may need to invest in a new tablet or smartphone if your current device doesn't have the capability to run video chatting applications at full capacity. No worries, however, because you can take advantage of online deals and discounts to save on the expense.
Keeping in touch with your family via social media is a good way to witness the daily activities they post. Instagram, for instance, has a Stories component that allows users to post interesting narratives from their daily lives, which can help you be more involved in your grandchildren's lives. Popular social media apps also include Facebook, Twitter, and TikTok, which have been known to help the elder generation keep in touch with the younger by bringing them together with videos.
Telehealth made easy
Digital tools mean more than just keeping in touch with family members — they can help you keep in contact with your doctors, too. Digital health technology, for instance, can facilitate strategies in response to pandemic activities that may normally be difficult to undertake from far away.
At-home health technologies have never been more important because maybe you can't leave your home due to self-isolation, or you want to make sure you are cleared to leave before going to visit family. Telehealth technologies are a critical part of our health care spectrum today.
Using technology to your advantage during the pandemic — and after COVID-19 — is one way we are embracing a digital future that will benefit us all. Telehealth, video chatting, and social media are only a few of the ways these tools will be an integral part of our future.
Visit the eFamilyCare blog for more valuable resources for seniors.
Photo courtesty from Pexels
CTN's monthly series, Senior Moments, provides valuable information for senior citizens on such issues as health, wealth, finance and entertainment by covering events and activities at senior centers in the Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti area. Click the ad to watch the series and catch it on Comcast CTN Channel 16, on the last Sunday of the month at 5pm. Reruns Sundays @ 5pm, Mondays @ 8am, Tuesdays @ 7:30 am, Wednesdays at 11 am, Fridays at 5pm. To access the series online visit https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLw6eY79a9rp-HD0DxEDyiTh3kSS5ffKXL.
Senior Center Membership
Individual and Family Membership
Ann Arbor Senior Center Membership Advantage: Please consider joining the center to start receiving discounts on classes and senior center rentals! A year long membership is only $25, and a family annual membership is $35. Consider the facts: Most ACBL players come two times a week and play - that's nearly 100 games a year. Your membership would cost you just $25 a year , saving you $75. Most Scrabble and Mahjong players play 50 times a year, and with a Senior Center membership, you will save $75 a year!
Arts & Humanities
NEW! Burns Park Women's Circle
Every Tuesday, 6-7 p.m., nonmembers: $2, members Free.
the new year by joining a group of local women that gather to discuss weekly
topics, life experiences, provide support and education to one another, and
discover new connections and friendship.
A2 Community Sing with Dawn
First Tuesday of the month, 7-8:30 p.m., drop-in fee: $5.
Just like singing around a campfire, you'll find yourself remembering that old ballad, an Irish tune, or childhood family song in no time. Our Community Sings are sure to stir up some fond memories and build a new family friendly tradition to be treasured for years to come. If you love to sing, haven't sung in years or are just yearning for some fun intergenerational community time, our Community Sing is sure to please. We use both the Rise Up Singing Song Book and the Rise Again Song Books. Song leaders typically start out each sing and all participants get an opportunity to pick a song in the circle. All voices welcomed. Community Sings are held in Burns Park in the Gallery Room at the Ann Arbor Senior Center.
Blue Grass Jam
Second and fourth Tuesdays, 7-9 p.m., drop-in fee: $5.
The A2 Blue Grass participants, from expert to novice, come from all over southeast Michigan to have fun withbluegrass jamming and singing. We draw a wide variety of musical Instruments including banjos, fiddles, standup and electronic bass, percussion, washboard, dobro, mandolin and the occasional harmonica. All ages are welcome. Visit the Bluegrass website
for more information.
NEW! Bag Lunch Bible Study
Every Wednesday, 11:45 a.m.-12:45 p.m., nonmembers: $2, members Free.
Come fill your life
with joy and happiness during the weekly Bag Lunch Bible Study, where you can
study the Bible and create a life changing experience with long lasting
friendships. Remember to bring a snack or bag lunch to enjoy!
NEW! Movie Matinee
Every Wednesday, 1-3:30 p.m., nonmembers: $2, members Free.
Come join us every Wednesday afternoon to enjoy a great movie! Includes free popcorn!
March Movies: A Walk to Remember, The Notebook, The Last of the Mohicans, The Greatest Showman
Watercolor Skills Course
Thursdays, 9:30-11:30 a.m., free.
Winter Session: Jan. 16-March 18.
Summer Session: May 7-July 9
Join this mindful community of painters for artistic inspiration, painting demos, a bit of art history, lively discussion and fun. All skill levels welcome. This class is offered in partnership with Washtenaw Community College for individuals 65 and older.
Bridge Games & Instruction
ACBL Bridge Barometer Game
Not Currently Offered
Per Game Fee: $10 member; $12 nonmember
Want to improve your bridge game? Know someone who would like to get back into bridge? This is the perfect opportunity. Join fellow bridge players for a fun morning of educational bridge play with Bridge Director and Emerald Life Master, Debra Eaves. The Barometer game is designed with learning in mind and consists of 12 boards to play. All tables play the same board at the same time. Upon completion of each hand, the cards are placed face up on the table (double dummy style) with a brief (5 minute) lesson/discussion. The game awards ACBL masterpoints (60% of full game awards). No partner necessary; we will find you one! Register for 1, 2, or all 9 games.
ACBL Bridge Games
Wednesdays and Thursdays, Noon-3:30 p.m., drop-in fee: $8 member; $9 nonmember.
ACBL open sanctioned games are played in the Gallery Room on Wednesday and Thursday afternoons. Pre-dealt hands from "dealer 4" offer players immediate hand records and player analysis printouts. The sanctioned bridge game has players of all levels of expertise from beginner to expert. Your directors encourage you to come with a partner. Looking for a partner? Arrive at the center and let the director know by 11:30 a.m., and they will offer you a guarantee to play. Wednesday Director Debra Eaves (March-December); Wednesday (January and February) and Thursday Director Stacey Tessler.
Duplicate Non-sanctioned Bridge
Monday, 12:30-3:30 p.m., drop-in fee: $2 member; $3 nonmember
Non-sanctioned Duplicate Bridge, directed by Ray Gentz, attracts players of all ages with varied levels of expertise including life masters to beginners.
Novice Bridge Game (0-199 Masterpoint Limit)
Select Saturdays, 9 a.m.-12:30 p.m., Per Game Fee: $10 member; $12 nonmember
Game Dates: April 4, May 2, June 6, 2020
There's a NEW game in town for Novice Bridge Players!
Join fellow novice bridge players for a fun morning of educational bridge play with Bridge Director Stacey Tessler. Play duplicate bridge with others at your level. Hand records and electronic scoring are provided. You can even earn ACBL masterpoints. A short lecture at 9 a.m. precedes the 9:30 a.m. game. No partner necessary; we will find you one!
Contact Stacey at 734.255.1269 for more information.
Part II: Mondays, Jan. 20-April 13, 9:30-11:30 a.m.; fee: $130 member; $156 nonmember
This class is designed for beginners and low
intermediate players who wish to improve their defensive play and do play
practice with analysis. The class will run with lecture and discussion from the
text for the first 60-75 minutes. Students will then play hands from a previous
duplicate game during the remaining time. Hands are analyzed after completion
to review the bidding, play and defense. Students may register in advance and pre-pay for all
13 weeks or pay as you go (drop-in: $15 member; $17 nonmember). It is highly recommended that students
have some type of previous bidding class or experience. Classes are held in the
Ann Arbor Senior Center and open to adults of all ages. For more details, contact the instructor or
the Ann Arbor Senior Center office. Text: Defense in the 21st Century by Audrey
Grant. Pre-requisites: Bridge I or equivalent or prior experience.
Bridge II Play of the Hand
Part II: Tuesdays, Jan. 21-April 14, 11 a.m. - 1 p.m.; fee: $130 member; $156 nonmember
This 13 week class is designed for advanced beginner and low intermediate players who wish to improve declarer skills. Audrey Grant has a worldwide reputation in the field of bridge education and in this class you use her methods from the required text "Play of the Hand in the 21st Century". The main part of the course deals with play of the hand as declarer. Other parts include bidding reviews, defense, and more. The class will run with lecture and discussion from the text for the first 75 minutes. Students will then play hands for the last 45 minutes. The text may be purchased online or ordered from your local bookstore. Students may register in advance and prepay for all 13 weeks or pay as you go (drop-in:$15 member; $17 nonmember). Classes are held in the Ann Arbor Senior Center and open to adults of all ages. For more details, contact the Instructor Ray Gentz at email@example.com or the Senior Center office at 734.794.6250. Pre-requisites: Bridge I or instructor permission.. Required text "Play of the hand in the 21st Century" by Audrey Grant.
Bridge for Beginners
Part II: Tuesdays, Jan. 21-April 14, 1:30-3:30 p.m.; fee: $130 member; $156 nonmember.
A beginning course focusing on basic aspects of bridge featuring bidding using the Standard American system taught using the book “Bidding in the 21st Century" by Audrey Grant. Also included are sections on scoring, defense and more. Each class consists of 90 minutes of presentation including a brief break. The last 30 minutes will be for students to play pre-dealt hands that deal with the material from the lecture. Open to all ages. Come and learn this fun, yet challenging game! Students may pre-pay for the entire class or pay a drop in fee of $15 for members or $17 for non-members. For more information please contact the Senior Center or the instructor, Ray Gentz at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Supervised Bridge Play
Be on the lookout for upcoming dates this spring.
fee: $10 member; $12 nonmember.
fee: $10 member; $12 nonmember.
Enjoy the flexibility of attending
Supervised Bridge Play in the morning, the afternoon, or mix it up and come
when your schedule permits. There will be a Monday a.m. option and a Tuesday
p.m. option. Supervised Bridge Play is designed for beginners and low
intermediate players who wish to improve their bidding, declarer, and defensive
play. The program will run with students playing 7-9 hands per session. Hands
will be analyzed after completion to review the bidding, play, and defense. No
book or partner needed. It is highly recommended that students have some type
of previous bidding class or experience. Please note that this is not a duplicate game; just practice. For
more details, contact the instructor Ray Gentz at 734.769.3994 or the Senior Center
office at 734.794.6250.
Chinese Mahjong on Mondays, noon-3 p.m., drop-in fee: free member; $2 nonmember.
Test your skills and strategy tactics with an ancient tile-based game of Chinese origin, while engaging in bit of friendly competition. Similar to rummy and poker, this four-player game can be played by all ages and skill levels.
Tuesdays, 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m., Drop-in: free member; $2 nonmember.
Easy to learn and fun to play, this game is for people who like friendly competition and riveting conversation. All experience levels are welcome.
Mondays, 6-8 p.m., Drop-in: free member; $2 nonmember.
Playing Euchre is a fun social experience where you can meet new people.
Bring a partner or just show up and we'll match you up with somebody when you
Board Game Fun
Not currently offered, Drop-in: free member; $2 nonmember.
Playing board games is a fun social experience. Come out for an afternoon of mystery and detective work; slide, collide, but don’t be Sorry; or grab your train ticket for a cross country adventure. Beginning September 5, come meet new people and play a variety of board games at the Ann Arbor Senior Center. Games available: Clue, Sorry, Ticket to Ride, Tripoley, Rummikub, and more!
Mondays, Jan. 6-March 9, 6:00-7:00 p.m., $80 for 10 weeks/Drop-in $12 nonmember, $10 member.
Mondays, March 16-May 18, 6:00-7:00 p.m., $80 for 10 weeks/Drop-in $12 nonmember, $10 member
All fitness levels and abilities of those 15 years and older, are welcome to unite, dance, and be yourself during this fun group dance experience that nurtures the mind, body, and soul. GROOVE® is a simple, fun, and creative dance workout. Just simple moves and rhythms done YOUR own way! The dance floor has evolved, so come join the movement. No dance experience required. Check out Young at Heart for a sneak peek of what this class has to offer. Register with a buddy and you both will save 20%! Call 734.794.6250 to register.
Benefits of Dance
- Reduces stress and depression
- Increases energy and serotonin
- Improves flexibility, strength, balance, and endurance
- Strengthens bones and boosts cardiovascular health
- Increases mental capacity by exercising our cognitive processes
- Dynamic and rapid fire decision making creates new neural paths
Chair Yoga through Ann Arbor Rec & Ed
Chair yoga provides a gentle stretch for your body and brings a sense of clarity to the mind. This class is offered by Rec & Ed at the Ann Arbor Senior Center on Fridays 9:30-10:30 a.m.. Visit Rec & ED to register for the class.
The following classes are in partnership with Washtenaw Community College for adults 65 and older. Please call to register, 734.794.6250.
Fitness for Seniors
Tuesdays, 1-2 p.m., free.
Winter Session: Jan. 14-March 17.
Summer Session: May 5-July 7.
Join Mark Harris in this 10-week free class for adults 65 and older offered in partnership with Washtenaw Community College. Improve fitness, strength, conditioning, flexibility, balance and cognitive skills while having fun. Call to preregister, 734.794.6250.
Wednesdays, 9-10:30 a.m., free.
Winter Session: Jan. 15-March 18.
Spring Session: May 6-July 8
Join this free class in partnership with Washtenaw Community College for seniors 65 and older. Instruction combines martial arts movements with Qi (energy) circulation, breathing and stretching techniques to improve balance and overall health. Instructed by Karla Groesbeck. Call to preregister, 734.794.6250.
Wellness and Enrichment
Life Line Screenings
Future date to be announced soon.
Life Line Screening will again host health screenings at the Ann Arbor Senior Center. For more information or to register, visit http://www.lifelinescreening.com/communitycircle.
Easy Indoor Plant Care and Propagation Workshop
Not currently offered; dates TBD for 2020
Join this hands-on class led by Michigan State University Extension Master Gardener trainee Corry Buckwalter, to learn about the health benefits of growing indoor plants, how to care for them and propagate your own new plant to take home. Whether you already have a green thumb and keep plants thriving for decades or are just curious about the magical world of indoor plants, this class is for you. Plant care topics will include proper soil media, containers, watering and light requirements, as well as common indoor plant problems and how to address them. Instructor will discuss eight methods to conduct vegetative propagation. Come prepared to get your hands in the dirt and have fun! Sample potted plants will be available to study. Free. Ten participant limit for adults 55+. Registration required. Call 734.794.6250 to reserve a spot.
A Matter of Balance
Not currently offered, free, registration with AAA1B required
A Matter of Balance is an award-winning evidence-based program designed to reduce the fear of falling and increase the activity levels of older adults who have concerns about falls. Throughout the eight weeks, you will learn to:
- View falls as controllable
- Set goals for increasing activity
- Make changes to reduce risks at home
- Exercise to increase strength and balance.
Call (833) 262-2200 or email email@example.com for information or to register.
The Senior Center also hosts a variety of educational workshops that provide its members with ample information and support. A recent topic of discussion, outlined by Sharon Wagner, describes ways that individuals can find support for obtaining Medicare. See here: Breaking Down the ABCs of Medicare to Find Your Best Option.pdf
Article of Interest: "Seniors Face Unique Challenges, But They Don't Have To Go It Alone" Kent Elliot is a retired architect with a passion for dogs, DIY, and universal design. After a stroke left him with mobility issues, he thought he would need to move out of his home and into an assisted living community. But, using his experience as an architect and with a little creativity, he was able to successfully remodel his family home instead. The relief he felt has inspired him to help others do the same. He created At Home Aging to share what he’s learned and is currently working on a book, Aging in Place One Project at a Time: DIY Home Modifications That Don’t Require a Professional.
See here: Seniors Face Unique Challenges, But They Don’t Have to Go It Alone.pdf