Who says Zoom is only for millennials? The Green Bay, Wis., Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Center offers online classes for older adults in everything from flower arranging to fitness. There’s even a Zoom coffee club for those who have wanted to retain that human connection during the COVID-19 pandemic. Through these classes and clubs, the Green Bay Kroc Center has been helping seniors stay connected and engaged while remaining safely apart.
During the shift to online and virtual programs offered to seniors, Liz Sternig, the healthy aging specialist who knows many of the older adults who regularly attend the center, was instrumental in walking first-time virtual participants step-by-step through the process of going online for classes. From there, several became “regulars” to the virtual senior fitness classes and other opportunities. When one woman stopped attending the virtual classes, Liz reached out to her and discovered she was undergoing a health emergency but getting the help she needed. Fortunately, the participant is in the process of recovery, and the Kroc Center is continuing to support her.
“This is what being a Kroc member is all about,” said Captain Kirsten Kocyan, associate Green Bay Kroc Center officer. “It’s being a part of a community, even virtually, that reaches out and cares for one another.”
According to the captain, senior tech-literacy is important and the amount of ongoing tech classes offered by the center has been increased. It is hoped that this will enable connections with seniors even if lockdowns recur or other situations arise which make face-to-face meetings impossible.
Zoom also has been used for other congregational activities, including a daily prayer call attended not only by older adults but by a broad spectrum of ages. This ministry occurred seven days a week through last October and continues to be offered twice a week.