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Senior program promotes community, socializing

By: Sherri Kolade | Farmington Press | Published December 2, 2015

 Farmington Hills resident Millie Burns and her friend Sandra Gubrium take a tour of Comerica Park recently with other Generations members.

Farmington Hills resident Millie Burns and her friend Sandra Gubrium take a tour of Comerica Park recently with other Generations members.

Photo provided by Julie Wagner

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FARMINGTON HILLS — Farmington Hills resident Millie Burns, 81, has enjoyed her life raising her eight children with her husband in metro Detroit.

But when her kids grew up and left the house and her husband passed away, Burns decided to venture out and experience Detroit in a new way with a senior group.

“You just don’t have time to go to a lot of things,” she said of her children-rearing years. “It seems like you are busy with your family and your church activities. (But) the programs they are offering are out of this world. I sign up for everything that is possible for me to go to. It would have been very lonely (otherwise).”

The Beaumont Hospital — Farmington Hills senior program, Generations, wants to engage residents such as Burns through social activities.

Geared toward senior citizens 50 “and better,” the program features educational coffee hours, monthly luncheons with musical entertainment, bus trips, and the like.

Earlier this year, Burns and others took a tour of Comerica Park.

“I am a big Tigers fan,” the Botsford Commons Senior Community resident said, adding that the group walked the fields and toured the dugout, the commentators box, the locker rooms and more.

“It was fabulous. You can’t imagine unless you get a tour of it to see what it is like,” she said.

Generations’ upcoming events include a Dec. 7 trip to the Brenda Lee Christmas show at Soaring Eagle Casino in Mount Pleasant; a Jan. 19, 2016, trip to MotorCity Casino; and a Jan. 24, 2016, trip to see Neil Simon’s “The Odd Couple” at the Purple Rose Theatre, followed by lunch at the Common Grill in Chelsea.

“Each month they have something that is very, very great,” Burns said.

Julie Wagner, Generations coordinator, said the program has been in existence for 29 years.

The program is housed at Beaumont — Farmington Hills, formerly Botsford Hospital.

“It’s a program where we encourage fun, wellness, travel, education — along with meeting new friends,” Wagner said. “(Membership) entitles them to different benefits.”

Some benefits include receiving a monthly Generations newsletter and participating in monthly day trips, a speaker series and more.

“We touch all areas,” Wagner added. “Last month we had a volunteer from the (Detroit Institute of Arts) come and speak about finding music in the art at the DIA.

“We’ve had the Detroit Historical Society, the Better Business Bureau.”

Wagner said the program was originally part of a nationwide wellness program called ElderMed, but separated from it in 2002, becoming Generations.

She added that Generations fills a need by informing people about community involvement and outreach, and what Beaumont has to offer. “(We want to) build a bridge between the community and the hospital. We want to keep the members informed on different health topics and services available to them.”

Among the 650 members and growing, Redford resident Brenda Evan, 68, joined 12 years ago after an early retirement.

“I knew right away I’d need to find something to do with my time,” Evan said in a press release. “The variety of activities is exciting. I like the museums, plays, sporting events and going to the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. And I’ve made many new friends on these outings.”

Members hail from all over metro Detroit.

“We touch many communities,” Wagner said.

Beaumont Health geriatric specialist Annette Carron said in a press release that there is “strong evidence” of the importance of older adults actively socializing.

“It can enhance quality of life considerably and add years to their life span. Joining a program like Generations allows older adults to make new friends, strengthen existing relationships by engaging in activities they love with others who enjoy the same interests, and keep their minds sharp.”

For membership details and event dates and prices, contact Wagner at (248) 442-5059 or at Julie.Wagner@Beaumont.org.

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