New Eastside seniors stay active and grateful
by Mat Cohen
No matter how many times you’ve been through it, the winter months never get easier.
Despite the weather, New Eastside seniors can get out and about downtown and enjoy a new class to help combat the winter blues. Some use services to get around, some use their own motivation, some use the Pedway and some use volunteering as a means to stay active, while many people just want to stay inside. Overall, seniors are thankful for time spent connecting with other people.
For Win Eggers, who lives in Park Millennium at 222 N. Columbus Drive, it takes personal motivation and a drive to get out of the house and volunteer.
“I’m retired and I could be sitting in the Lazy Boy,” she said. “I could be getting fatter and all that stuff but I just won’t let that happen to myself.”
Eggers volunteers at the Chicago Architecture Center and the Chicago Cultural Center and is grateful for interactions with different people during the holidays.
“It’s neat because you’re meeting a lot of tourists,” she said. “You learn about what their country is like this time of year and then compare it to what we’re like here. It’s just a great way to meet people and I’m thankful I’m able to do it.”
She said it’s easy to get around in New Eastside while staying relatively warm.
“I can take buses, trains, cabs, I got it all right here,” she said. “Also the Pedway, you don’t have any excuse for not walking because it’s always there and always nice in the winter time.”
The Renaissance Court Regional Senior Center, at the Cultural Center, offers bridge, movies, clown classes and a choral group. Joyce Gallagher, director of senior services of the Department of Family and Support Services, knows how important these programs can be during dark days of winter.
“There’s something for everyone,” she said. “And if there’s not, we actually go and create them for you.”
The City of Chicago operates 21 senior centers, each hoping to reach the senior population, from delivering an at-home meal or providing a new educational outlet.
For Gallagher, who lives at Harbor Point, looking at Lake Michigan is something she cherishes, no matter how cold it gets.
“I love to sit and look at the lake because it’s ever-changing,” she said. “We are so fortunate in the New Eastside to have that at our front door.”