Mary M., a 67-year-old Texas resident, retired in 2009 from her role as a public benefit health care advocate. For 20 years, Mary helped hundreds of people obtain benefits like social security, SSI supplemental income, Medicaid, etc which were state and federal programs that assisted the clients to pay for their hospital medical expenses.
While she loved her work, she had an opportunity to take care of her grandchildren. She opted for early retirement to take on this important caregiving role. She was not just any caregiver, but also an educator. She followed a fun home learning curriculum prepared by her son (her grandchildrens’ father) and taught the girls arts, reading, and math. In this role, she helped them produce plays, enjoy storytelling together, and fostered the girls’ love of reading and music.
Now the girls are in elementary and high school and Mary continues supporting their growth. She helps pick them up from school, assures homework is finished, and they attend their activities.
“When COVID started, we were in full lockdown. This was hard because I love to volunteer and engage in the community.
Now with the girls back in school, Mary finds she has some extra time in the afternoons. That's why her husband highlighted the email from SilverSneakers announcing GetSetUp benefits at no additional charge thanks to their health plan.
“I checked it out right away and in the first class, I took I fell in love with it. It’s great!”
Mary has enjoyed socializing in classes like Good Morning America with Norman and taking African Dance classes with Glenda.
“I try to get on in the afternoon. I just go and see what classes there are and just choose one that I think sounds interesting. With my schedule sometimes it’s hard to book ahead. I like that I can just join a live class”
Classes don’t just help with mental enrichment but have also helped Mary to make new friends and stay engaged with a broader community.
“I am so happy I found GetSetUp because I get to meet others, and the Guides do such a wonderful job with the classes they introduce. It has helped me with my boredom and mentality.”
Multiple ways to participate
Mary and her husband attend their local Planet Fitness three times a week, thanks to their SilverSneakers plan. She had tried some of SilverSneakers’ classes on Youtube but needs the extra push of in-person classes to stay motivated at the gym. Her husband helps motivate her too, by going regularly to continue his recuperation from double knee surgery.
Staying healthy isn’t just about the physical aspects though. Brain health depends not just on physical fitness but also on mental stimulation.
Mary has enjoyed learning new things; from brain trivia classes, to how to utilize her smartphone better. She also learned how to add music to photos she wants to share. While she didn’t understand all the points in just one class it’s nice for her to know she can go back and take the class as many times as she needs, to master the skills.
Plus Mary has a variety of ways to participate in classes. She can participate in the Lounge via chat and emojis or hop into the live portion of the class and participate with voice and video. She does both but enjoys having options depending on the class she’s attending.
“Right now since I’m fairly new I’m trying to get more courage to speak out. I do a lot of chatting through typing. That’s how I communicate a lot. It’s great though because I get an option of how I want to participate.”
For now, she’s enjoying exploring classes like time management and nutrition. In the future, she’s looking to explore more about how to write some of her stories. She wants to share them with her family. Plus she'd like to find an accountability buddy to help support her weight loss goals.
“I’m really enjoying all the classes I’ve taken so far. I love that when I’m free I can just find a live class that looks interesting and join without booking.”
Hopping into live classes means that Mary doesn’t have to stress about booking in advance. She has time to focus on her grandchildren, volunteering, or other community work. Then the classes she joins help her strengthen her brain health and social networking when she has time in her schedule.