When you talk to Ms. Hallie Griggs, you immediately feel the positivity radiating from her voice. A native Houstonian, she volunteers at BakerRipley and is part of the senior programs at our Denver Harbor Senior Center
These days, she misses going to the center in person – especially the monthly birthday celebrations for members and the upbeat exercise classes. While at the center, she stays informed about any changes that could impact the senior population.
“When I come into the center I make it my business to go around and tell everyone hello or give them a hug. You’d be surprised; the seniors even though they are with a crowd, many times are lonely. There’s nothing like touch, even if you touch a person by looking or smiling at them,” said Ms. Hallie.
For this very reason, she first took her mother to the Kashmere Multi-Service Center in 2008, and ever since she’s been involved with BakerRipley. Whether she’s working the front desk or teaching Sunday school twice a week, she’s always ready to greet you with a smile.
Keeping in touch
Despite the challenges the pandemic presents, Hallie says it’s good to know that people care.
“The program directors are being creative to still stay in touch and keep us connected,”
Every morning, Hallie and a group of seniors receive a text with important updates or sometimes it’s just to check in on them. On Mondays, a food box with five meals is delivered to her house. Included in it is a bingo card for the weekly virtual game on Thursdays.
For the Fall Festival this year, program directors gathered in a parking lot, decorated their cars, and opened up their trunks full of goodies.
“We just drove by and with our bag outside our window and they put goodies in it,”
In addition, a new program called “Bingocise” (you guessed it, a combination of bingo and exercise) is set to start in the New Year.
Staying healthy during the pandemic
“During Covid-19 we have a tendency to stay in the house and watch TV, then we look out the window and then we go eat, we go do this and then we go and eat – and I tell you what, I was eating some of the wrong things,”
When Mrs. Hallie went for her regular check-up the doctor told her she had pre-diabetes. Wanting nothing to do with diabetes, she immediately sprang into action and took a diabetes class at the center.
“I got a lot of knowledge from it and when I went back to the doctor with my improvement, he said I nipped that right in the bud,”
Mrs. Hallie is very active and uses a Fitbit to stay disciplined, hitting 10,000 steps almost every day.
These days she’s been volunteering at her church to stay busy and is looking forward to returning to the senior center when it’ safe.
“I believe in good programs and I can see how good it is for seniors, it keeps seniors connected and shows that you care.”