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Golden Wellness Mini Retreat Day highlighted

Friday, March 14, 2014, 12:41 a.m.

For years, seniors have been gathering once a month at UPMC McKeesport for lunch and to hear a guest speaker.

Program director Patrick Fisher thought it would be nice to offer folks something extra and Thursday marked the debut of the Golden Wellness Mini Retreat Day.

“I thought it would be nice to make a day of it for the people,” Fisher said, “to get them out of the house for a little while.”

Formerly the Golden Key Club, the name was changed to coincide with the group's focus on wellness.

“We are more focused on the future of senior care so we are looking more at wellness,” he said.

The monthly mini retreats are from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. and include a continental breakfast, bingo, lunch and a speaker. There will be either a craft or tai chi, depending on the month. Helping with the crafts will be Laura Thompson of McKeesport Family Center and Monica Hancharik of McKeesport First Steps Parenting Program.

There is a break between the two sessions when attendees can play cards, take part in a walking club, work on a word search puzzle or Sudoku, or chat with friends.

There is no cost to join the Golden Wellness Club, which is open to folks 55 and older. Meetings are the second Thursday of the month at noon in the Kelly Conference Center on the ground floor of the Kelly Building on the hospital's campus.

Fisher said members have a choice of attending the day-long activities or just the afternoon session. Numbers were pretty even for the kickoff gathering, which included a snack basket giveaway from LifeSpan, which was represented by Penny Patrick.

Along with the monthly meetings, the club schedules outings like lunch and a movie at the Loew's theater at the Waterfront, visits to Amish areas, and to Civic Light Opera's “Cats” this summer.

The name and format change tie in with the Aging Institute at the hospital and an upcoming ribbon-cutting to mark the official opening of the site on 1 Crawford.

“This is our way of trying to enhance the quality of life for seniors and to get them out of the house,” Fisher said. “The goal is to make sure they have the information they need to enhance their quality of life to help them get through the day. We want to make the ‘golden years' more golden.”

Carol Waterloo Frazier is an editor for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1916, or



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