28 Jun Seniors Build Community and Friendship Through Far East Lounge Classes
When you step into a Far East Lounge (FEL) class, LTSC’s free senior activities program, the first thing you notice is the sense of community. The classes are always full of laughter and friendly chatter amongst the seniors. Through a wide variety of fun activities and classes, seniors forge friendships, and stay mentally and physically active, helping to support their wellbeing.
“FEL’s free activities are designed to give seniors a place where they can socialize and make new friends. Loneliness and social isolation are major threats to seniors’ wellbeing, and can increase the risk of dementia or other medical issues, so it’s important that we have programs like FEL that address this,” explained Mototsugu Sekiya, Program Coordinator at FEL.
For participants of the FEL’s senior ping pong class, this is more than just a game. The community they’ve built has been growing steadily, as has the seniors’ skills and competitiveness. Thanks to the many tables that Little Tokyo Table Tennis (LTTT) has graciously shared and the equipment they donated, table tennis players have been able to get multiple games going simultaneously and have even organized tournaments, which have been a hit with the seniors.
Players have reported that ping pong has been a good way for them to exercise and stay mentally sharp, and that it also gives them something to look forward to. Some participants even travel upwards of an hour to be a part of the class and many stick around afterwards to socialize and take part in other FEL activities.
FEL includes a wide range of classes that support seniors’ wellbeing, from educational programs like language, writing, and computer/technology proficiency classes to fun activities like cooking and arts and crafts. With new equipment from the Kansha Fund, senior karaoke has been growing in popularity and the new mics and speakers have greatly improved everyone’s singing experience.
“Thanks to support from groups and organizations like LTTT and Kansha Fund, it allows us to ensure that we’re giving seniors the best experience. Being able to use the big space at Terasaki Budokan and the help from their team has been wonderful as well. We’re very grateful for the support from all these different groups and so are the seniors,” said Mototsugu.
It’s been a delight to be able to see FEL activities bustling with seniors again, after programs were greatly reduced during the pandemic. Though social isolation and loneliness were major threats to seniors’ well being during the lockdowns, being in the company of their friends and community again has helped to greatly improve the quality of their lives.
For more information about FEL and class schedules, please visit: https://www.ltsc.org/far-east-lounge/