Our Laguna: Into the Susi Q Senior Center

Wide-ranging programs include discussions of science and current events and classes for exercise and balance.

August 01, 2013|By Barbara Diamond
  • Geeta Singh teaches a class at Susi Q Senior Center where students like Lola Gillebaard can learn how to prevent falls.
Geeta Singh teaches a class at Susi Q Senior Center where… (Susi Q Senior Center…)

The late Art Linkletter wrote a book titled "Growing Old Isn't for Sissies."

Well, the Susi Q Senior Center isn't for sissies either. Programs are designed to challenge participants to stretch themselves mentally and physically.

On Tuesday morning alone, one group was dissecting articles found in Scientific American magazine, and another group was discussing current events. The Persian Club met, a foursome played bridge in the library and some hardy elders were exercising muscles including the brain that will help them stay on their own two feet.

The Current Events Discussion Group meets on Tuesdays and Fridays. Participants bring in news items they think are noteworthy and everyone comments, which leads to some lively give-and-take.

Skipper Lynn brought in a study on causes of stress, including poverty.

Dorothy Natal suggested that the decline of the middle class is a cause.

"When I grew up, we were told we could be anything we wanted to be," she said.


"Education is part of the answer," said Bill Allen, co-facilitator of the group with Paul Schmitt.

Schmitt opined that a certain percentage of those born poor will not overcome it. Magda Herlicska agreed.

"Some people are driven, others are more laid back," Herlicska said.

Duncan Nickle reported on the mob scene on the Fourth of July in Huntington Beach.

When he left after his annual visit with his daughter to see the fireworks, he and his wife were trapped on Pacific Coast Highway by the hordes heading toward downtown Huntington Beach.

"It took 45 minutes to go three blocks," Nickle said. "What amazed me was their desire to be part of it."

Science discussions this week included a debate on divine intervention — alien or otherwise.

Later, I sat in, literally on a fall prevention class. It was a revelation.

I watched while instructor Geeta Singh put 20 seniors through their paces for an hour and 15 minutes, helping them prevent falls by improving balance, strength and focus.

"This class is phenomenal," said Lola Gillebaard who starred in Laguna's production of the "Vagina Monologues," but is best known as a "sit-down" comedian--she has had more than 15 operations and stands and walks with a cane.

The class began with modified Tai Chi: reaching up to the clouds, gathering flowers, rolling the wheel and polishing the table while seated, followed by arm and shoulder stretches and head rolls, designed to stave off or reduce the effects of osteoporosis, one of the banes of aging.

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