By Colleen Sparks
Mature adults smiled as they danced in a Zumba class, prayed and sang during a Taste of Shabbat service and listened to classic music at a sock hop, all part of a day’s activities at a senior center recently.
They participated in the many, diverse offerings that the Jewish Family & Children’s Service Center for Senior Enrichment offers at The Palazzo, a senior living services community at 6250 N. 19th Ave. While housed in The Palazzo, any residents in the community may attend the free classes, programs and clubs, even if they do not live on that campus. Activities are offered from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays at the center, during which time anyone in the public also may eat lunch for $4 in the luxurious Palazzo dining room.
A recent, major renovation at The Palazzo created a more inviting, modern ambiance even more ideally suited to meet seniors’ needs and interests in the center. The center is open to anyone of any faith, geared towards people at least 60 years old.
“It’s definitely expanded with the renovations here,” said Jennifer Brauner, site director for the Center for Senior Enrichment. “Our class sizes have definitely increased. The word is getting out about us. Our senior center is very unique because senior centers are typically not in senior living communities.”
Aging adults take chair yoga, chair Flamenco, Tai Chi and other exercise classes, as well as participate in a book club, a checker and chess club, Yiddish Club, writers’ group, Phoenix Art Museum visits, painting classes and many other activities aimed at keeping their minds and bodies active and giving them a chance to socialize. A Chanukah lunch and musical entertainment also was recently offered. More than 270 people participated in at least one of the center’s activities last year. Transportation is provided to seniors who live within a five-mile radius of The Palazzo for $2 round-trip.
Valeria Gheorghies of North Central Phoenix, comes to the center frequently.
“I love the classes,” Gheorghies said. “The instructors are wonderful, so patient with us. I learn so much here. What I like is we come here and we socialize.”
Arnie Wininger, who lives at The Palazzo, started the Yiddish Club.
“There’s lots of activities,” Wininger said. “You never go hungry in here number one. You’ll never be lonely.”
The Center for Senior Enrichment has been providing its programs at The Palazzo before The Palazzo’s current ownership but the recent renovations there have made the partnership even stronger, said Mark Aronauer, director of sales and marketing for The Palazzo. The lobby was expanded, a bar was added for happy hours, a fitness center was built and an intergenerational room established with video games and toys for residents’ grandchildren to play, among many other enhancements.
To learn more about Jewish Family & Children’s Service Center for Senior Enrichment, visit jfcsaz.org/programs-services/older-adults/center-for-senior-enrichment/.