Translated by Aleksandra Slabisz
Far Rockaway has a new senior club: Golden Age, or Złoty Wiek in Polish, which was created with the lonely in mind as a place for locals to spend time together and access resources and information.
Some 20 people, excited about the idea of a new group for older residents, participated in an inaugural event for the club on Sept. 5 at Seagirt Adult Day Care Center in Far Rockaway.
“We want to invite seniors and retirees to come over and spend time in a group,” says Maya Trofimovich, a Polish-American and the founder of the new club.
“It is meant to be a place where people can get together, make new friends, chat and forget about loneliness, illnesses and other problems,” says Trofimovich. “I want seniors to realize that despite their age they too can enjoy life, dance, sing, paint and do what they like and what brings them joy. We want everyone to feel welcome here and good, no matter their physical condition.”
Apart from a place to meet and spend time together, the founder of Golden Age is planning meetings with experts and professionals from different fields who can advise seniors on health, legal and insurance issues, especially those pertaining to medical coverage such as Medicaid and Medicare, as well as home attendants.
“If there is interest we will invite dance and painting instructors and more. We are also planning dance parties and field trips. All to make the seniors’ life a bit brighter,” says Trofimovich, adding that many immigrant seniors she knows have gone through hardships that come with living outside one’s native country. They decided to stay in New York instead of going back to Poland, and are still struggling at an older age.
“That’s for these people in mind that we have created the Golden Age,” she says.
Anyone can be a member of the group, and its founders hope the club will be especially appealing to people over the age of 50. Membership in Golden Age is free of charge, as organizers recognize that it’s often hard for seniors to make ends meet. Huashen America Inc., a health products company ran by Trofimovich, sponsored the inaugural event, and the Seagirt Adult Day Care Center, which offers assistance to seniors on a daily basis, lent them the space for the first meeting.
The opening was accompanied by an art exhibit called “A Meeting with Nature,” showcasing paintings by Polish-American artists Teresa Rysztof and stone arrangements by her husband, Zbigniew Rysztof. A short concert by mezzo soprano Joanna Mieleszko and soprano Anna Willson followed; Mieleszko also played a couple of songs on the harp.
The group who attended the inaugural meeting was very excited about the new club, and said they would bring their friends over for the next gathering. For now, Golden Age will meet once a month at Seagirt Adult Day Care Center at 1815 Cornaga Ave. in Far Rockaway. The next meeting has been scheduled for Oct. 19.