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Creating Vibrant Programs for Older Adults

Category: Ad Summa: Museums and Creative Aging
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Photo by Elie Guttmann on Unsplash.

It is a particular pleasure to hear from kindred spirits in creative aging who have been keeping up with our Ad Summa blogs. One such person is the indefatigable Delano Wood from DOROT in New York City. When he contacted me about his exciting programs, I encouraged him to contribute a guest blog about them, and—well—here it is. DOROT (from a Hebrew word meaning “generations”) serves as a fine example of how communities can increase their own vibrancy by bringing together older adults in ways that recognize and honor experience while ensuring greater health. Thanks, Delano! Good on ya!

—Bill Tramposch, Aroha Senior Fellow for Museums and Creative Aging


DOROT is a community space and social service organization for older adults (ages 65+) located in the Upper West Side of Manhattan. We introduce public programs that inspire a sense of engagement and decrease social isolation for seniors through discussion, learning, and the arts.

DOROT’s onsite and special programs are broken up into four categories: health & wellness, discussions and gatherings, special events, and legacy arts.

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Our drop-in health and wellness classes include offerings like Stretch and Strengthen (a weight training class to increase joint flexibility, mobility, and balance) and Mr. Gu’s Method (simple exercises based on Chinese medicine designed to increase your energy and help you move towards greater health).

Our discussions and gatherings are designed to promote free thinking and interesting conversations. One class that embodies this philosophy is our Current Events Café. Current Events Café is a space where older adults can have open and honest discussions about what’s happening in their community, the country, and even the world. Another group we have is our Kol DOROT Chorus Group, which uses live piano to accompany songs by wonderful songwriters from throughout the decades. This is a class that everyone can participate in.

A group of people are seen gathered around someone seated on a small stage.
A wellness program at DOROT: Mr. Gu’s Method class

In addition to our regular weekly classes, we also offer special events and workshops. These events can include art lectures, art exhibits, and captivating performances. We are currently offering a variety of ballroom classes at DOROT, which allow our older adults to learn basic dances moves and the history of some very well-known ballroom dances. Our new Sunday and evening programs are also quite popular, which include activities like documentary film screenings and musical sing-a-longs.

We also host speakers from local museums for talks and lectures about specific artists or artistic periods. For example, we had someone from NYU’s Grey Art Gallery give a talk about the Art After Stonewall exhibit, explaining how the Stonewall riots had an impact on visual culture. In August, we will host an art historian from MoMA for a lecture on French painter Edouard Manet, which will examine how “Espagnolisme” and the spirit of artists such as Velázquez and Goya allowed Manet to become a premier modernist of his era. These events are extremely popular, because art can be interpreted in many ways, and older adults enjoy the opportunity to think creatively and outside the box.

If you are interested in attending or learning more about any of our onsite programs at DOROT, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We can be contacted at dorotprograms@dorotusa.org or you can call us directly at 917-441-3745.

About the author:

Delano Wood is the Older Adult Engagement Specialist for DOROT’s Onsite and Special Programs. His role is to market and do outreach for DOROT’s onsite programs and various services. These programs are designed to get older adults involved and also make their day-to-day lives easier. The programs offer onsite stimulation for older adults—mentally, emotionally, and physically with exercise that is centered around balance and flexibility.

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