October 6, 2022

Book clubs, speakers and gardening

Pittsburgh Senior Living Centers help senior members of the community stay active and social.

At Weinberg Terrace, Weinberg Village and The New Riverview, residents enjoy a host of engaging and meaningful activities, said Leah Berman-Kress, marketing and public relations coordinator for the Jewish Association on Aging.

Whether it’s through monthly volunteer-led councils and councils – where residents discuss the changes they’d like to see at Weinberg Terrace and The New Riverview – to participating in regular bingo games, art projects, at holiday-themed events or helping with spring and summer gardening, “Our residents are really involved in the places where they live,” Berman-Kress said.

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The Jewish employee said she and her colleagues constantly work with residents to ensure they feel “connected and included in our community” and offer a range of programs aimed at meeting a plethora of unique interests.

In recent months, authors, artists and even Pittsburgh Mayor Ed Gainey have visited Weinberg Terrace, Berman-Kress said.

Pittsburgh PD Zane visits a resident. Photo courtesy of the Jewish Association on Aging

At Concordia of the South Hills, a number of prominent local educators, authors and historians speak regularly with residents, explained Christie Wahlen, director of marketing at Concordia of South Hills.

Each month, Todd DePastino, director of the Veterans Breakfast Club of Pittsburgh, discusses the history of the war. Radio personality and journalist George Savarese reviews the news. Rabbi Alex Greenbaum of Beth El Congregation of the South Hills addresses contemporary topics, and children’s author Judy Press leads a bimonthly creative writing workshop, Wahlen said.

The programs — along with regular book clubs and dedicated groups for poker, bridge and mahjong — offer residents the chance to leave their apartments and socialize, Wahlen said.

Socializing isn’t just fun, it can also be good for your health. Research suggests that getting out and expanding your social circle is important for healthy aging.
Researchers at the University of Texas at Austin found that older adults who interacted with people outside of their usual circle of close friends and family were more likely to be physically active, have better moods, and to have less negative feelings.

Berman-Kress said she and her colleagues are always looking for ways to introduce residents to each other.

For example, she said, during the warmer months, ice cream socials are great ways to get people to venture outside and engage with staff and other residents. .

Wahlen said she makes it a point to encourage residents to express their interests, even when they might think there might not be anyone else out there who likes the same things.
“If you’re interested, then someone else probably will be too,” Wahlen said.

This is how community is built, she added.

Photo courtesy of the Jewish Association on Aging

Concordia has about 140 residents, ranging in age from 70 to 105, according to Wahlen.

Weinberg Terrace, Weinberg Village and AHAVA Memory care have approximately 120 residents, while The New Riverview is home to just over 200 residents. The ages of JAA residents range “from their 60s to over 100,” Berman-Kress said.

“Our community is a very welcoming place and we want everyone to feel involved,” she added.

Wahlen expressed a similar sentiment saying, “Concordia of the South Hills is a great place, we have great residents here and we love having new residents.”

After describing how residents and staff enjoyed the recent visit from the Pittsburgh Police Department’s first comfort dog, Zane, Berman-Kress said, “We have tons of activity throughout the day. . There is always something a resident can find. PJC

Adam Reinherz can be contacted at [email protected]