Ageless Grace and TMH help seniors stay mentally, physically active during COVID-19 lockdowns

Posted at 5:18 PM, Jul 06, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-06 17:18:26-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — A Tallahassee woman is on a mission to help seniors across the state battling pandemic isolation and keeping them fit.

It’s called Ageless Grace, and the instructor, Marghi McClearn says the challenges brought on by the pandemic may be a blessing in disguise.

"Music and movement have always been important to me," said McClearn.

She’s using those two skills to help people in Tallahassee and across Florida focus on the brain and body while stuck at home for safety.

"The need for social engagement is immense," McClearn said.

But the pandemic has forced many of our state’s most vulnerable into lockdown, limiting social options for people 55 and older who may be dealing with dementia or just plain loneliness.

Many living in long-term care facilities can’t have visitors but, thanks to Zoom and a partnership with Tallahassee Memorial Healthcare and the Florida Assisted Living Association, there are glimpses of what the future may hold.

Veronica Catoe is CEO at FALA. She teamed with McClearn and TMH to broadcast the Ageless Grace classes to long-term care facilities across Florida.

It's a program Vicky Rose, the memory disorder clinic coordinator for TMH, says can be very beneficial.

"That’s really important when we talk about prevention of Alzheimer’s Disease and other dementias," said Rose. "I love seeing that they’re able to maintain activity even during COVID-19."

Activity McClearn says she loves to offer.

"I love what I do," McClearn said.

Turning the challenge of a pandemic and online classes into an opportunity to rebound.

"This is one of those things we might call a blessing in disguise," said McClearn.

While Rose says there’s no magic bullet to preventing dementia, classes that focus on movement and brain stimulation can help slow the progression.

You can learn more about Ageless Grace and how to sign up for classes on McClearn’s Facebook page, available by clicking here.