LCCC’s SilverSneakers program helps older adults take control and live healthier lives

When Phaidra Cox was looking for an exercise program to help her become more active, a friend pointed her to Lorain County Community College’s facilities. Excited at the find, she initially enrolled in an introductory fitness course before she learned about the college’s new partnership with SilverSneakers, a nationwide program that offers a free health and fitness plan for those 65 and older through many Medicare plans.

“Just as I was starting the course, an instructor told me about SilverSneakers and said that I might qualify,” Cox says. “I did, and now I’m getting the fitness program that I was previously paying for for free.”

Cox, who enrolled in the original fitness course through LCCC’s Lifelong Learning program for those 50 and older, was SilverSneakers’ first member, says Kathryn Orantek, LCCC’s facilities and wellness coordinator.

“She is exactly who this program was designed for, older adults who are looking to stay healthy with a program that includes strength training, aerobics and flexibility exercises,” she says.

Orantek says LCCC’s fitness center has been open for community use for almost 20 years, but the college is doing more to promote the opportunities there and support wellness in the community to create a healthier population.

“We’ve always been the community’s college, and we want to make sure our community is healthy and well,” says Orantek. “We want to reach out to people to provide fitness classes and programs that help them stay healthy well into their later years.”

To spread the word about its SilverSneakers program, LCCC is reaching out to senior living communities and employers and is attending health fairs to let people know of the wellness opportunities offered by the college. Cox is doing her part, as well, telling her peers about the benefits of SilverSneakers and encouraging them to join her.

“I am so impressed and pleased with LCCC and its offerings,” she says.

In addition to getting fit, Cox also enjoys seeing seniors working out alongside college students, all working toward the same wellness goals.

“I love it,” she says. “The trainers are helpful and accommodating, and everyone at LCCC has been wonderful, from the instructors to administrative staff to the receptionists. I recommend it to everyone I know and tell everyone to look into it.”

Phaidra Cox in the fitness center with trainer Kathryn Orantek

Free paths to fitness

In addition to SilverSneakers, LCCC has two other programs available at no cost for eligible participants.

  • Renew Active is for those 65 and older with select Medicare Advantage plans
    and includes fitness classes and online brain exercises.
  • Prime Fitness is available to those ages 18 to 64 who are members of participating health plans. This commercial fitness program motivates participants to take charge of their health and fitness.

All three programs give participants free access to LCCC’s fitness center, fieldhouse, gymnasium and track and include free orientation and a personalized fitness plan with a certified trainer