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Senior Spectrum Patient Stories

Click on any of the names below to discover how Senior Services at Emory Decatur Hospital has made a difference in these seniors' lives.

The Bells“Senior Spectrum is our favorite group to travel with,” says Betty and Ray Bell, who have been members for three years. And it’s doing them both a lot of good: “At 84, I had a physical the other day and the doctor couldn’t find anything wrong with me!” says Betty. Maybe her vigor can be attributed to the aqua aerobics classes she attends two to three times a week at The Wellness Center at DeKalb Medical. ‘We enjoy the friends we’ve made and the recent HealthTalk on minimally invasive back surgery. We like all the trips, the Tellus Museum and Booth Museum come to mind.” The outings are coordinated by Leah van der Kooy. “Leah has done a really good job. When we had a bad meal once on a trip, she got the management to give us our money back! We also like that you can show your Senior Spectrum badge and you can park for half-price anytime you go to the hospital at DeKalb Medical.”

F. HendrixBack in ’98, Flora Hendrix had really bad arthritis so her doctor recommended she go into the water and she did. She joined The Wellness Center at DeKalb Medical and started working out in the pool. While she was there, she signed up for Senior Spectrum. “I recommend it very highly to everyone I see,” says Flora. “The people are wonderful working with seniors. We talk too much! I haven’t been on a trip I didn’t like. My favorites were going to Mobile where we stayed several days; going to Cartersville, Georgia and having lunch at the mansion. I met a lot of nice people. I like being with people who are interested in health. I go to the HealthTalks – they have free breakfasts in the auditorium! At 82, I’ve reached the stage in life when I don’t like to drive or deal with parking and all that. I prefer to ride!”

The HoggsAudrey and Newton Hogg enjoy belonging to The Wellness Center at DeKalb Medical and especially like the Senior Spectrum outings and HealthTalks. “We enjoy all the trips,” says Audrey, “it's hard to pick a favorite. We prefer the performances such as the musicals: Kiss Me Kate, Atlanta Symphony with Debbie Reynolds, and seeing Julie Andrews at the Gwinnett Amphitheatre and going to Cirque du Soleil when they came to Atlanta. But we also like going to museums, specifically the Atlanta High Museum for the China exhibit and the Booth Museum in Cartersville. They always plan a great lunch for our group. They book ahead and get a group rate. The coach – we don’t call it a bus! - is comfortable.” Of the people she has met in Senior Spectrum, Audrey says, “It’s a good crowd. A lot of us know each other. Our friends, about six neighbors, belong so we try to go at the same time.”

“Senior Spectrum gives us the opportunity to visit numerous historical sights and scenic locations on limited budgets,” says Newton. “Travel on the coach with pleasant local citizens permits us to have fun times and educational privileges. It’s a great way to travel safely.” At 86, Newton likes to be able to let someone else do the driving. But he says he likes The Wellness Center’s covered parking which provides a trouble-free, all-weather spot for his car so he can work out at his convenience when they are not traveling with Senior Spectrum.

C. JonesIn 2006, Cecile Jones moved from Ohio to Atlanta and joined The Wellness Center at DeKalb Medical. “It’s close by and I don’t have to drive on the freeway,” Says Jones, who, at age 84, has always exercised even with her heart problem and enjoys the fitness facilities at The Wellness Center. “One day, I saw the sign for a Senior Spectrum trip (I love to travel!), signed up, and I’ve been traveling with them ever since. It’s a chance to see parts of Georgia and Tennessee that I would never see.”

Senior Spectrum organizes outings and trips for members and is run by a devoted team located inside The Wellness Center: Leah Van der Kooy, manager and Kate Smallwood, specialist. “Leah is fantastic. The trips are always well-organized; they always have a waiting list. Kate sends out a notice in the mail about two months ahead and you sign up for what you want to go on. They average about $40-60 per trip, which covers the admission, dinner and travel expenses.” A plush coach bus (with bathroom facilities) picks up and returns the Senior Spectrum group in front of the Stubbs Auditorium in the 2665 Professional Building on the North Decatur campus of DeKalb Medical. With a 60-person capacity, the bus is usually full!

Some of their recent trips include:

  • The Tellus Museum in Nashville
  • Rock City tour
  • The Atlanta Symphony performance
  • Cirque du Soleil performance
  • Blue Ridge Mountain Railroad trip in Tennessee/North Georgia
  • The High Museum of Art in Atlanta
  • An apple orchard in north Georgia

“They’re all so different, it’s hard to pick a favorite,” says Jones of the outings (not the apples!).

The LatimersDoris and Bob Latimer joined Senior Spectrum at DeKalb Medical about eight or nine years ago when someone mentioned it to them as something they should check out. And the program has grown significantly since then. “I enjoy the HealthTalks and the trips,” Says Doris, “especially the Charleston trip near Christmas time, the symphony and the Arts Center, the musical My Fair Lady in Lawrenceville, and Menopause the Musical was hilarious. It’s so much easier to go places on a bus.”

They have a lot of friends who are also members of Senior Spectrum. Doris and Bob also participate in the walking program at the local mall and enjoy the HealthTalks. “I found my doctor through HealthTalks,” says Doris.

They suggest that if you are interested in a trip, you need to register as soon as you can because they fill up quickly.

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