YMCA staff member on the phone at welcome center

Senior Wellness Director Nancy Belli checks in on a senior from the South Tampa Family YMCA. 

"I don't care about the economy, as long as the Y opens again,” e-mailed one member to the South Tampa Family YMCA. “I miss everyone.”

While the Ys are closed, Tampa YMCA staff are making sure to check in on our Active Older Adults who consider the Y their second home. Volunteers of the South Tampa Y’s Togetherhood Committee are also joining the efforts to call and e-mail senior members. 

“We know being isolated is one of the biggest impacts on health for anyone, even more so, for seniors,” says Dawn Kita, Tampa YMCA Healthy Living Director. “Our hearts are with them and our staff miss sharing their passion of helping them stay connected in our Ys and being active in our buildings.

The Tampa Y is also working behind the scenes to find ways for senior members to stay active at home by adding virtual classes to the Tampa Metropolitan Area YMCA website and individual center Facebook pages.

"While this may not be as fun as being with their friends at the Y, we hope it will help the seniors stay active so that once our doors open again, they will be able to pick up right where they left off, with no losses in strength, cardio, balance or flexibility. This is their time to dedicate even more time to their health,” says Dawn.  

“My mom has been doing her Active Older Adult classes at home via Virtual Y and is loving it,” says Jennifer Wainman, Tampa YMCA Vice President of Marketing.

Nancy Belli, South Tampa Y Senior Wellness Director, recalls a conversation she had with one senior who said, “Wow, I was just thinking about you all. I am so stiff and having trouble moving. I was going to call my doctor and then realized that I haven’t been exercising.” So, Nancy sent her all the links to the virtual videos. “She was very grateful,” Nancy says. “She told me, ‘I really miss you all and the other members too.’”

“None of these resources will be exactly like what they were doing in our buildings since they don’t have the equipment at home that we have here,” says Dawn, “but the goal, right now, is to just keep moving.” 

“My husband is working from home so I see him more than ever, which is so great,” says member Geri Card. “I text four other Active Older Adults from the Y and so, at least, we are supporting each other online. We all miss the face-to-face camaraderie with each other and the beloved South Tampa Y staff!"

“What I miss is the conversation,” echoed South Tampa Y member Karen McKinney, who says she also talks to her husband all the time, “yet it's not the same when I meet new friends at the Y.”