Seniors Find Community Through Free Program

3 January 2023
Silver Sneakers on a White Background

By Lili Garrecht - Regional Membership Director

Laverne and Shirley are my heroes.

Oh, not the girls on the TV show! I’m talking about Laverne Adams and Shirley Moorefield, two women in the SilverSneakers® class at the South Boston/Halifax County YMCA.

These cousins, who turn 81 this month, take turns driving the 35 miles (45 minutes) from Brookneal to South Boston three times a week for water aerobics, followed by SilverSneakers®. “It keeps me going. The exercise keeps my back from hurting,” says Adams. “Another thing is the wonderful people. When you get to be a certain age, you have to remain active to keep your mind employed.”

The SilverSneakers® class is led by Rona Collins, an enthusiastic teacher who shouts out encouragement as they go through a routine of lifting light weights, making aerobics movements, and stretching muscles, sometimes seated in chairs to do movements like seated jumping jacks.  Rona’s voice calls out over the music, “Whoo! It’s happy Friday, everybody. You’ll leave here feeling great!” In the background is the pop music from the cousin’s younger years, such as “Ain’t No Stopping Us Now” and “Solid As a Rock.” And the participants laugh as they play catch like kids with a plastic ball to improve their coordination and balance. “Everybody’s sweating!” Rona laughs as everyone pretends to kick a soccer ball to the tune of Jingle Bells.
Since Rona began teaching this class in September, the class has grown significantly, some were drawn from the group she used to teach at the library. She remembers most people’s names and even passes out water to those who need it.

At a recent session, a woman whose son had died thanked the others tearfully for sending her a sympathy card. Rona hugged her and comforted her in a touching moment after the class. “This is more than about exercise,” Rona says. “It makes them feel good about themselves. And it’s about fellowship and community.” 

The Y partners with many insurance plans to support SilverSneakers® and Renew Active programs for adults 65+. These programs are offered at 5 of our area locations. To find out more, visit us here

At the Y, feeling great never gets old. Special Active Older Adult exercise classes and social events are available at every Y. You belong at the Y! 

Laverne and Shirley enjoy Silver Sneakers