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Seniors stay active, feel like family in Marlboro program

By Peter Elacqua
Staff Writer

MARLBORO – Residents age 60 and over have a place to go in Marlboro where they will be welcomed and where there is almost always something for them to do.

The Marlboro Recreation Community Center is the home base for activities and a program for people over 60 that operates under the direction of Denise Barry, Linda Dugan and Rosemary Pascale.

During the week, mature adults can be found participating in yoga and cardio wellness classes, playing Canasta, Bridge, Pickle Ball or bocce ball, crocheting or practicing Tai Chi, enjoying a game of Bingo, or putting their ballroom dancing skills on display.

“It’s kind of like a college campus,” Barry said of the activities at the recreation center. “You see how (the participants) see people and they may not know the other person’s name, but they smile. It’s like if you are on a college campus and see somebody who is in your class, give them a smile. And now (older adults) have the time to enjoy it. They can really get out and do something.

“If the township did not have something like this, there would be a lot of people sitting at home … (The programs) keeps them strong, we try to keep the health and wellness factor in everything and many of them have come back from surgery and it helps them with their recovery,” Barry said.

“For a lot of these seniors, (the recreation center) is a big part of their life,” Pascale said. “It is a place for them to go and enjoy. I have seen many new friendships develop. It gives them something to look forward to. We are always brainstorming, trying to find new places to go and new activities to keep them busy.”

Karen Cain, Donna Diamant, Sarita Pathak and Gail Sack are regular participants in the activities at the recreation center.

“Getting up in the morning, knowing you have a place to go,” said Cain, who has lived in Marlboro for 15 years. “Denise is the backbone of the program. If not for her, I don’t think it would be what it is. I know people who would like to sell their house and move, but who would not move out of Marlboro because of this recreation center. The rec center keeps you busy and active.”

Diamant has lived in Marlboro for 38 years. She said, “I really love this program, I have been coming for about 10 years. I come for yoga and strength training and cardio, six hours of exercise every week. Everyone here is interested in making this a program we enjoy and that we get a lot of benefit from.

“Getting up in the morning and getting out of the house is good because when you are retired you are not on a deadline. If you want to sit around in the morning and do nothing, that’s alright, except if you have a program like this that you are really enthused about.

“You get up, come over and chat with your friends. It is not just for a person’s physical well being, it is also for their emotional and social well being. … As people are aging they tend to want to be more active, so having this program makes it that much easier for us,” Diamant said.

Pathak has been a Marlboro resident for 30 years. She said, “I exercise now, which I never did in my youth because I had no desire. I came more to socialize and then I realized I had to take better care of myself. I was surprised to receive a get well card (from the senior program) when I broke my knee. I thought, ‘Oh my God, people think I’m somebody here.’ I had friends and family members calling and sending cards, but receiving a card from here felt good.”

Sack has been a Marlboro resident for 42 years and praised the program that offers mature adults so many things to do.

“It’s absolutely fabulous,” she said. “It keeps us in shape, I have somewhere to go in the morning, I have direction. I feel great when I leave here, exhausted and young, and I have to say the program is very well run and very well structured. We have become family.

“Unfortunately, my husband passed away a year ago. People came out and gave their condolences. When I came back it was like open arms to me (and) with Denise and Linda, I was able to talk and get out some emotions. It was more than just exercise, it really is people caring for other people,” Sack said.

Participants in the senior activities must be at least 60 years old and live in Marlboro. Classes and activities are free, with the exception of a nominal fee for luncheons and trips. For more information, call 732-617-0367.

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