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YMCA Senior Wellness Program helps older adults keep active

Senior wellness (3)


Gerald and Linda Zarzyncny began attending the Williamsport branch of River Valley Regional YMCA in February. Gerald, 67, had gained 25 to 30 pounds due to inactivity since October 2014, and needed to lose some weight.

Upon application to the Healthy Senior Program, the family was awarded a 55% scholarship, allowing a membership to be affordable for the couple. The senior wellness offers older adults an opportunity to stay active, healthy and mentally fit by participating in health-related activities and age-appropriate programs. The program decreases loneliness and alienation, and encourages social interaction and physical activity, enabling seniors to remain productive members of the community.

“In addition, their granddaughter was enrolled in the Child Watch program, making their weekly visits possible,” said Rachel Bryant, Wellness Director.

Gerald suffered a heart attack four years prior and was diagnosed with COPD two years ago. At the time of the heart attack, he was put on oxygen at night, and at diagnosis of COPD, increased his oxygen usage to full-time.

“Knowing a lifestyle change needed to happen, Gerald and Linda made a decision to be consistent in attending the YMCA two to three times per week,” Rachel said. “While at the Y, they participate in the Active Older Adult classes two times each week, as well as working out in the fitness center on the strength machine circuit, the treadmill and arm bike.”

In the four months since they joined, Gerald lost 20 pounds, his blood pressure decreased, he’s been able to do light activity up to 45 minutes without his oxygen, and has increased his mobility. He can even bend over to pick objects up from the floor, can put on his own shoes and socks, and easily stand back up when seated in a chair.

The couple plan to continue their weekly exercise regime, knowing it’s making a difference in Gerald’s present and future quality of life.

“It is not something folks think about every day, but ultimately everyone hopes to experience a retirement graced by good health,” said Scott N. Lowery, LCUW executive director. “For Gerald and Linda, the YMCA senior wellness program has been an important part of that goal. The United Way dollars offer seniors an opportunity to stay active, healthy and mentally fit, as well as encouraging social interaction.”

Lycoming County United Way is proud to provide $12,500 to the Williamsport branch River Valley Regional YMCA’s Senior Wellness program. But we cannot do it without you. Help us continue support by making a contribution today. Call Lycoming County United Way at 323-9448 or visit


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