Tag Archives: Department for the Aging

Queens seniors battle Manhattan rivals in Xbox bowling tournament

| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Liam La Guerre

Some Queens seniors showed that they’ve still got game.

The members of the Selfhelp Senior Center in Flushing battled rival SAGE Center of Manhattan on virtual bowling lanes Thursday, in the city’s first official crosstown online Xbox seniors bowling tournament.

And although they weren’t playing for a world championship, they’ve had lots of competitive spirit to spare. With city bragging rights on the line, Queens left Manhattan in the gutter, winning the best of three set competition to win the city crown.

The match, which was made possible through a partnership between Microsoft and the Department for the Aging (DFTA), and the Department of Technology and Telecommunications, showed that through virtual games old folks can continue to playing just like they used to.

“When I do Xbox it feels like I’m doing the real bowling without the weight of the ball , so it’s good for me because I’m older now and it’s difficult for me to bowl a 10-pound ball,” said Elena Wolfe, a member of Selfhelp.

Selfhelp was the city’s first senior center to get virtual technology. It had Nintendo Wii video game systems installed a few years ago so the seniors could play Wii Sports, which includes mix virtual games, such as baseball, tennis, bowling, golf and boxing.

The center recently switched to Xbox after the city partnered with Microsoft, and seniors have since fell in love with the system. The play many times per week and have formed a virtual bowling team.

In addition to the health benefits of exercise that the game provides, the technology also helps members by teaching them modern technology and making them feel connected with the current generation.

“There is a common misconception that seniors are afraid of technology that they don’t understand it and what we are aiming to prove is that’s wrong, that’s not true at all,” Jon Minners, Department of Aging spokesperson, said.

“You just have to push them along a little bit, but once they understand technology they really enjoy it.”




Woodhaven-Richmond Hill Senior Center finds temporary location after building damage

| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre

The Woodhaven-Richmond Hill Senior Center has found a temporary location after the building was damaged, but leaders still say there’s no place like home.

The center, which is operated by Catholic Charities Brooklyn and Queens, recently moved to the American Legion Post 118 at 89-02 91st Street after a building adjacent to the center’s location on Jamaica Avenue collapsed, damaging the roof and kitchen.

“We were concerned about the winter months with the snow and rain,” said Judith Kleve, vice president of Older Adult Services at Catholic Charities. “We are very relieved that the American Legion opened their doors to us.”

The center, which is funded by the city’s Department for the Aging, has more than 200 seniors enrolled and about 70 visit daily.

The staff prepares free meals every day and organizes exercise programs, including yoga and dancing, and educational lectures on topics such as arthritis and diabetes. During the temporary move the center is providing shuttles from the original location.

Despite joy for the temporary site, seniors want to return to the old building soon, because the American Legion building is too small, according to Kleve. But first, owners of the collapsed building, 78-19 Jamaica Avenue LLC, must fix it or the seniors can’t return.

“The situation is only going to get worst with the rain and snow coming,” State Senator Joe Addabbo said. “We need to get the owner to start fixing it now.”

The politician is working with other leaders to put pressure on the owners to repair the property. Addabbo met with officials from the Department of Buildings (DOB) this week to discuss the collapsed building, which has about a dozen violations and $11,000 in fines, according to the DOB.

The members of the center are hoping they can move back by next year.

“The seniors were very happy to know that the senior center was still open and that they had a safe site,” Kleve said. “But they still want to go home.”

The owners of 78-19 Jamaica Avenue LLC could not be reached for comment.