WEST ORANGE, NJ - Hundreds of senior citizens throughout Essex County attended the 22th annual Senior Wellness Day at the Richard J. Codey Arena on Tuesday. Dozens of Montclair seniors organized a trip to attend the event.
Presemted by Essex County Executive Joseph N. DIvincenzo and Board of Chosen Freeholders, arriving seniors were greeted by volunteers who provided each senior with bus info and tickets providing for lunch and produce.
Members from Montclair's senior citizen group, Do Drop In and The Pine Ridge senior citizens complex, were among those greeted by Jazz musicians, stilt walkers, balloon artists and strolling puppeteers. An exhibition of live reptiles from Turtle Back Zoo educational program were also on display.
Kathrine Nicholas, Director of the Do Drop In located at the Wally Choice Recreational Center in Montclair, added, "I had a great time. The seniors that I traveled with from the center were able to receive all kinds of information pertaining to health and wellness."
Once inside, seniors had the option of the main arena or the practice arena both outfitted with table and chairs for comfort and enjoyment of the live entertainment.
One of the highlights, the Silver Steppers, a group of senior citizens started over 15 years ago as an exercise group. Rick Clark, Recreation Supervisor and Director of the Silver Steppers, explained that the group startedas a way for seniors to exercise, dance and have fun. The group is open to seniors 60 and over, with its oldest participant being 98 years old.
"We started with 8 members and today we are 50 strong in numbers."
Clark added, "This gives seniors something to do. You're only as old as you feel."
Toward the rear of the arena beneath the giant screen, were the many private, non-profit and county-run organizations that are specifically designed to benefit and aid the senior population with information and tips on eating, exercise, and advice on how to live a happy, healthy independent life.
Alfred Davis, DC., who runs the Montclair-based wellness center, Davis Integrated Medicine, was a vendor at the event. He said, "This is huge for our seniors here in Essex County. We have been supporting this event for the past 7 years. Its an opportunity to help seniors and provide information on concerns of arthritis, back, legs and understanding there are alternatives to taking pills while in the healing process and dealing with pain."
Julia Sickler, Community outreach coordinator " Today we are here to assist seniors by providing information on alternative solutions to dealing with pain , its a day that gives seniors the opportunity to get out and participate and collect valuble resources in living a healthy lifestyle while aging throught eating and excersize "
The day continued in a festive manner and was limited in speeches and heavy with musical entertainment and dancing.
Executive Director DiVincenzo said that the music and entertainment were free. He said, "Working Together we will continue putting Essex County and our senior citizens first."
Mayor Robert Jackson of Montclair was at the event. He said, "Today's program provides seniors with great information and by providing it all in one space making, it accessible. This day also allows for seniors to get see old friends make new ones and fellowship by dancing, exercising and just having a good time."
He continued, "It's encouraged that seniors participate and get connected with the services available in Essex County."
In departing, each senior was provided with a bag of produce, courtesy of Essex County.
For information on Senior service programs go to www.essexcountynj.org