By Meghan Flynn BALDWINSVILLE, N.Y. (NCC News) — Onondaga County was missing a place for retirees to spend their days – so Barbara Deptula decided to fix it.
“I always felt it was sad when our seniors were treated in a Juvenal manner or looked down upon,” said Deptula.
The Silver Fox Social Club, located in Baldwinsville, New York, is celebrating their 10th anniversary this year. It has been 10 years that the club has been providing seniors a service that was lacking prior.
The club is seeking to provide seniors with activities that are stimulating while simultaneously aiding their families with the economic impact of growing old.
The Baby Boomer Generation is currently sandwiched between their kids and their parents. Financially they are paying for college and elder care. So the Silver Fox Social Club is there to make sure they can still work and take care of their parents at the same time.
“The baby boomers are understanding that their parents are living longer so we are helping them with the economic side of growing old,” Deptula explains. “Then we try to tailor our activities to the needs, wants and desires of our seniors.”
One of the most popular activities is spending time in the kitchen and according to chef Jim Alderman it’s because, “they like doing things with their hands and it reminds them when they were in the kitchen atmosphere of their house or the family atmosphere.”
But the ability to help the seniors is not the thing that makes employees passionate about their jobs – the stories and the people are what get them most excited.
“I had nine pro fights – I lost one, I got knocked out in Rochester,” says Silver Fox attendee Paul Barkle. Barkle is a former gymnast and professional boxer but he had a third career and this one involved a famous student. “Richard Gere was one of my famous students. I was his gymnastics coach, he was a good kid.”
The employees at Silver Fox believe that they learn more at their jobs that anywhere else. Deptula says that she learns something new every single day. While Alderman says, ” I mean you have to listen – they all have a story.”
So that’s exactly what the employees do – listen.