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Silver Sneakers program in Edgeworth gets 3-month reprieve

| Monday, June 19, 2017, 6:03 p.m.

A Silver Sneakers program that originally was slated to end June 23 has been given at least a three-month reprieve.

Attendees of Silver Sneakers — a free fitness program for older citizens with eligible insurance — that has been located inside a medical building housing a Heritage Valley Health System rehabilitation center at Edgeworth Square, 100 Hazel Lane, Edgeworth, for at least a decade were told June 7 their program was ending this week, participant Tom Weber and others said to the Sewickley Herald.

In a meeting Monday with about 65 local Silver Sneakers participants, Heritage Valley CEO Norm Mitry said the health system would keep the program in the same location until Sept. 30 or until “the future use of the current space is determined — whichever is later,” he said in a statement released after the meeting.

“In the meantime, Heritage Valley will work with Healthways, the Silver Sneakers organization, to identify a viable space to relocate and continue this community program,” Mitry said.

Weber said he hopes someone can find an alternative location, and suggested the possibility of a creative use of space in an outdated or unused portion of a building within the Sewickley area.

“There's relief that at least there is time now to find a new location,” Weber said. “Now there's time to explore other options.”

Weber and other participants are concerned that losing the program or relocating it out of the Sewickley Valley will prevent people from staying active and social.

“People our age do not want to drive across the Sewickley Bridge or in inclement weather,” said Weber, who along with his wife regularly use the Edgeworth facility.

At least four of the at least 150 participants are over 90 years old, Weber said.

Silver Sneakers programs are available at Curves in Leetsdale, World Class Fitness Center in Moon, Pure Athletex in Franklin Park and at the Beaver Valley Mall, according to the program's website. The website also shows a Silver Sneakers program at a Heriage Valley rehabilitation center in Hopewell. Classes and amenities at fitness centers vary by location.

As of Monday afternoon, the Edgeworth location did not appear on the Silver Sneakers program website at silversneakers.com.

Several participants sent letters to Mitry and to the Sewickley Herald detailing their frustration of canceling the program and of their support for how they say the program has helped them.

In a statement, Mitry said “Heritage Valley is looking to ‘repurpose' the current space that houses the Silver Sneakers program.”

According to the national Silver Sneakers program website, there are more than 13,000 participating locations. In a 2015 annual national survey conducted by the program, 84 percent of those responding completed “moderate to vigorous aerobic activity three or more times per week.”

Bobby Cherry is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at rcherry@tribweb.com and on Twitter at @bc_trib.

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