Post Classifieds

D.C. wellness centers offer health, joy to seniors

By Francisca Fournillier/Howard University News Service
On February 9, 2015

Mr. Prince, 98, and Lorenzo Lewis, 84, enjoy a game of checkers at Hayes Senior Wellness Center in Ward 4.
Hayes Senior Center/Courtesy Photo

Catherine Pridgen could no longer bear the thought of sitting in the house she once shared with her husband.  After Pridgen’s husband died from cancer, she needed somewhere to go so she wouldn’t be depressed. This, she said, was when she learned about the Hayes Senior Wellness Center Center.

Hayes, located in Ward 6, is the latest of six senior wellness centers that cater to Washington’s senior residents, ages 60 and older.

The others include Bernice Elizabeth Fonteneau Senior Wellness Center in Ward 1; Hattie Holmes Senior Wellness Center in Ward 4; Model Cities Senior Wellness Center in Ward 5; Washington Seniors Wellness Center in Ward 7; and Congress Heights Senior Wellness Center in Ward 8.

The centers offer programs that provide health education and applied learning centers with activities. There are classes in nutrition, exercise, reflexology, smoking cessation and other health care concerns. The centers also include seminars, support groups, auxiliary activities, creative arts and intergenerational programs.  All services focus on wellness, promoting better health and preventing disease. 

One of the goals, officials said, is to provide help that will allow seniors to maintain their independence and avoid premature institutionalization, such as nursing homes.

Before coming to the Hayes Center, most of the seniors occupied their days at the Sherwood Recreation Center for about one and a half years.

The seniors were relocated to Hayes Center because Sherwood Center did not have a functioning kitchen. Some of the activities offered at Hayes Center include aerobics exercise, yoga, weight lifting, line dancing, daily lunches and field trips.

Renna Summers, 78, who lives alone at her Capitol Hill Towers Apartment, has been coming to the Hayes Senior Wellness Center for two years. She particularly likes communicating with people, dancing and playing cards and games. 

“I get to go to my doctor’s appointments and my dentist appointments by coming to the center,” she said. “Seabrook picks us up and carries us free of charge.”

Although the center provides an environment for seniors to socialize, some say they still get bored.

“Some days we do nothing,” said Delores Robinson. “I think we should have more activities. We should go on more field trips and have other games we can be involved in when we’re just sitting around after lunch and doing nothing other than playing cards. Maybe we can have some board games and things like that.”

Another senior at the center who wanted to be referred to as ‘the doctor’ or ‘Pastor Allen’ said he was very appreciative the center.  

“I was born in the 40s and they had boys clubs, not really community centers,” he said. “The community centers are new for seniors.”

There are approximately 68 community centers in the District that cater to children, teens, adults and seniors. These centers provide a gateway to learning and involve fun activities.

For more information on Washington’s senior wellness centers, call 202.724.5622 or visit

Get Top Stories Delivered Weekly

More districtchronicles News Articles

Recent districtchronicles News Articles

Discuss This Article




Log In

or Create an account

Employers & Housing Providers

Employers can list job opportunities for students

Post a Job

Housing Providers can list available housing

Post Housing

Log In

Forgot your password?

Your new password has been sent to your email!

Logout Successful!

Please Select Your College/University:

You just missed it! This listing has been filled.

Post your own housing listing on Uloop and have students reach out to you!

Upload An Image

Please select an image to upload
Note: must be in .png, .gif or .jpg format
Provide URL where image can be downloaded
Note: must be in .png, .gif or .jpg format