Supporting healthy aging through fitness activities, preventive care and disease management is the mission of the Scott & White Wellness Center – Brenham. Established in 2015, the Center provides a suite of wellness services for older adults in Washington County, Texas. In its first year, it served about 7,000 residents.
Every three months, the Center hosts screening and lab tests for diabetes and chronic lung disease, plus support groups for people who have been diagnosed. But perhaps the favorite component is the free classes. Always full with regular waiting lists, classes include “A Matter of Balance,” “Fit and Strong” and “Texercise.” These various classes are taught in senior centers, churches, schools and local businesses.
“We don’t have to advertise,” said Jennifer Mertz, director of Scott & White Wellness Center – Brenham. “Word of mouth travels quickly, and we are open to anyone who walks through the door. People tell us the classes have changed their lives, allowing them to do things they haven’t done in years.”
A Wellness Program of Support
In collaboration with Texas A&M University, the Center customizes the class content to address local health concerns. Washington County government and the Brenham Faith Mission and Help Center funnel a steady supply of residents who need guidance to cope with chronic conditions.
“People tell us the classes have changed their lives, allowing them to do things they haven’t done in years,” Jennifer Mertz said.
Nurse Gail Cole oversees a “Seniorcise” program at the Brenham Senior Center. Participants — most between 75 and 90 years old — work on strength, balance, endurance and flexibility for an hour twice a week. The group includes two former professional athletes — a golfer and a football player.
“There is mutual support of a shared goal. When someone’s not there, they send cards,” Cole said.
“For those with medical issues such as a joint replacement or cardiac surgery, the group encourages them to start over (in the program). I can’t help but think Seniorcise helps them get through whatever health challenges they face.”
Learn more about what Baylor Scott & White wellness programs and centers can offer you.