Free classes offered by EH Town in Springs, as well as in Montauk

Wellness For Seniors At Ashawagh Hall

Rosie Orlando led a couple of dozen enthusiastic seniors in a class focusing on stretching and strength last week. Independent/Richard Lewin

Ashawagh Hall and the Springs Improvement Society frequently provide a home for the arts, particularly during the summer season’s various exhibitions. Now, Ashawagh is also providing space for wellness sessions for seniors.

“We were looking to see if there was a need for more, and it sure looks like there is,” Diane Patrizio, the East Hampton Town director of Human Services, said as she watched the debut session of the Core Strength Class, led by Rosie Orlando, the health and wellness director of the East Hampton YMCA RECenter.

There were at least two-dozen seniors, aged 60 and older, mostly from Springs, following Orlando’s lead. “Come on, lift those feet up,” she called out. At the same time, since it was her first class with some of those on hand, she was checking on any conditions or limitations those exercising might have. A few took the class seated in chairs. Orlando encourages the students to only do what they feel comfortable doing. Most, though, were going enthusiastically full out. “By spring, we are all going to get out our bathing suits,” Orlando promised.

“I’ve been in Springs a long time, since the late ’80s,” one of those taking the class, Doris Wray, said. “I know Rosie from the YMCA.”

The free Wednesday classes are broken down into two sessions. The first is called Core Strength, and runs from 12:30 to 1:15 PM, and the second, Balance and Strength, goes from 1:30 to 2:15 PM.

The town is also partnering with Southampton Stony Brook Hospital to bring wellness sessions to Montauk on Mondays, as well, Patrizio said.

On Mondays at Ashawagh Hall, there now is a one-hour class of QiGong, the ancient Chinese exercise and healing technique led by Margaret Iannaccone of Bamboo Roots Acupuncture. About four-dozen people attended the first session on February 11, Patrizio said. Patrizio said the town is going to continue expanding wellness programs, partnering with different organizations and reaching out to seniors.

East Hampton Town Board member Kathee Burke-Gonzalez, the board’s liaison to the town’s human services division, said “we are excited about this new collaboration” and the town’s ability to offer free wellness classes to seniors, in a press release announcing the program.

Donna Wagner has lived in the hamlet for 34 years. She said that Springs is increasingly becoming home to retirees. “If you don’t offer something for people to stay up and mobile, it is going to be a problem. This is not an easy place to get help, or get someone to do something for you, so you need to stay mobile as long as you can.”