It was a nice midweek reprieve for the seniors who came out for a Senior Fair / Black History Month event at Brownsville Recreation Center (BRC). Guests enjoyed continental breakfast and refreshments as they were entertained by performances by active BRC members. BRC boasts one of the largest senior membership in the five boroughs with over 1,000 regular attendees.

After a welcome address by Recreation Director Vivian Jett-Brown, various senior groups took the floor to impress the audience with their skills. A small Tai Chi class illustrated the graceful movements of the centuries-old, stress-relieving discipline, and the Golden Nugget Seniors Helping Seniors ensemble demonstrated dance routines practiced in their weekly sessions. “These seniors are as young as the spring is long,” said Ms. Jett-Brown, a 19-year veteran of the BRC staff. “We have such a robust offering [of classes] here, including yoga, swimming and ballroom dance. Plus they go on trips and put on plays. They get to stay active and have fun.”

Representatives from SUNY Downstate Medical Center manned a table packed with pamphlets regarding HIV prevention, sexually transmitted diseases, and safe sex practices. Marian Searchwell, Program Coordinator, shared a startling local statistic: in New York City, the rate that seniors (ages 65+) acquire sexually transmitted diseases is at an all-time high. The SUNY program is working with city and state health officials to re-educate seniors, many of whom do not consider themselves an “at-risk” population.

Did you know Internet-enabled caption phones are available free of charge for users with hearing aids? Dorothy Bruns of Clear Captions demonstrated the features of the Ensemble phone, which displays text of conversations in near real-time on a large color touchscreen. The sleek, high tech-looking device is really user-friendly, and compatible with all carriers, in any state. Several seniors spoke with Ms. Bruns about setting up future in-home product demos and installations.

Other senior fair participants included AlphaCare, MTA Access-A-Ride, NYPD Community Affairs, New York Life, FDNY Fire Safety Education Unit, Department of Aging NYC, Brookdale University Hospital and Medical Center, Elmy’s Special Services and Centers Plan for Healthy Living and Department of Health & Mental Hygiene NYC.

Brownsville Recreation Center- (718) 345-2706

1555 Linden Blvd, Brooklyn, NY 11212