Prime Time Seniors Program Works to "Change the Image of Aging"

Sunday, November 1, 2015, 10:39 am
By: 
Danny Kaplowitz

Prime Time Seniors members are working on raising funds to complete this mural, along with ELPS Middle School and MSU students

As a thriving college town, East Lansing provides many amenities for its citizens that would not be available elsewhere. One such program is our nationally accredited “Prime Time” Seniors’ Program, which aims to provide enrichment for EL community members over the age of 55. This multifaceted opportunity provides help to our town’s seniors on many different levels, from movie-viewing sessions to emergency preparedness.

Founded in 1972, the program was a joint partnership between the city and the East Lansing Public Schools. After some time, it grew out of its home at Red Cedar Elementary School and expanded beyond a strictly intergenerational focus. Now housed at the Hannah Community Center, the 1000+ participant institution gained a national accreditation in 2007 (an honor that less than 1% of senior centers achieve). According to director Kelly Arndt, their current philosophy is that “wellness isn't just the absence of disease, it's a state of physical, intellectual, emotional, social, and spiritual well being.”

The main cornerstones of Prime Time are its programs and courses. These 200+ wellness seminars cover arts, sciences, and many other topics. No two are the same, with many as diverse as Scrabble, Spanish Literature, Fitness, and Line Dancing. They also emphasize intergenerational connections, providing opportunities for retirees to tutor students, to learn about technology from MSU undergraduates, and to work on art projects with community youth. A full list of programs, and more Prime Time info, can be found here

Another important aspect of the Prime Time service is Snow Removal help. This connects seniors to neighborhood or MSU student volunteers who, for a nominal fee, will remove the snow from a senor’s property during the winter months. For more information, seniors can visit this link or call Prime Time at (517) 337-1113

Fit For Life, a grant-funded senior fitness program, is starting for the 2016 season in January. This 11 week program is one of Prime Time’s highlights, and includes half off all exercise classes, a free brain exercise course, one-on-one nutritional coaching, and wellness workshops, along with some support groups. Fifteen people will be accepted into the program, a value of over $450, for free (with a $25 deposit.) Applications are at the Prime Time office, or are available here.

“Our vision for the program is to serve as a professional organization committed to both advocating for and contributing to the health, enrichment, social, and supportive service needs of East Lansing residents age 55 and older.” asserts director Arndt. She emphasizes the power of Prime Time to empower seniors to be “the best that they can be,” and hopes that they can “change the image of aging” away from a negative perspective, and toward one filled with possibilities.