DEARBORN — After a pause on activities due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a program for seniors is resuming its activities every Tuesday, 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m., at the Islamic Center of America (ICA) in Dearborn.
The program provides social and educational activities at ICA to the area’s seniors, though the program is open to all, regardless of age or religious affiliation. In previous years, the program brought in experts on topics like senior scams, senior abuse and other health and social issues, and took seniors on field trips to museums, governmental buildings and a favorite location — the Detroit Zoo.
With its return this year, the program will continue that tradition and include such activities as a multicultural awareness day, experts on COVID-19 and Alzheimer’s Disease, a cider mill trip and more.
The program’s organizers said they believe that joining a senior program is important because keeping active is a benefit to physical and mental health at any age. With age, it becomes even more critical to stay active, challenge one’s mind and make social connections. Research shows older adults who participate in senior programs have improved emotional, mental, physical and overall better health.
Isolation among the aging community is an important topic of discussion for those in the field of elderly care and the situation has been made worse with the pandemic. The program is also designed to address that concern.
The program, at one of the area’s largest mosques and community centers, started out when some ICA board members saw a need a few years back to find ways to keep its older members engaged during the day
ICA Volunteer Donna Jawad and board member Haj Khalil Kadouh realized that such a program could also benefit their own parents. Dr. Mohammad Majed and Sayed Issa Safiedine also joined in on the brainstorming.
“We decided to launch the program with that intention in 2017,” Jawad told The Arab American News. “The program ran every Tuesday for three years. In that time we mostly saw the same number of seniors interested. At our highest we had 30 members and at the lowest seven.”
Jawad ran the program largely by herself in those years before the COVID-19 pandemic put a stop to the activities.
“I was at a funeral in March of this year and saw many of the people that attended the program every week,” Jawad said. “We spoke about bringing back the senior program. Imam (Ibrahim) Kazerooni had also urged me to bring it back.”
Jawad and Kazerooni recruited members for a committee to help Jawad with the program this year. The committee includes the Imam as a spiritual leader, Fatme Dakroub, Manal Harake, Radwan El-Hage, Reem Kadouh, and Zahia Srour.
The program has a full schedule of activities planned into December. It also welcomes more people to bring their ideas for activities and join in on the planning.
A healthy living activity will bring instructors to teach healthy cooking at the center, with demonstrations and exercises. There will be a discussion on the effects of smoking tobacco and a candid discussion on the benefits of medical marijuana. An education session on the use of technology is also planned.
Jawad is also the community outreach coordinator with the Michigan Center for Contextual Factors in Alzheimer’s Disease (MCCFAD) at the University of Michigan. The program is teaming up with MCCFAD in September to bring an expert to discuss the new Alzheimer drug Aduhelm, or aducanumab, which recently received approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
More information on how to sign up for the program and to learn about upcoming activities can be found by contacting Donna Jawad at (313) 593-0000 or djawad@ICOFA.com