Lutheran Home residents do the Zumba

Published 12:00 am Monday, July 2, 2012

By Katie Scarvey
In the 23 years she’s worked there, Sherrie Burgess has gotten to know a lot of the residents at the Lutheran Home at Trinity Oaks as the food services director.
But now, instead of serving macaroni, she’s serving up the macarena as a volunteer Zumba Gold instructor every Monday at 10:30 a.m.
Zumba Gold is a form of the popular Latin-dance inspired workout that is accessible to seniors or others needing exercise modifications.
Burgess is usually accompanied by social worker Becky Norman, but Monday, Martha Parrott, director of admissions, was helping out.
Last Monday, Burgess was shouting encouragement to the class. Most were in wheelchairs; some were standing. They moved energetically to songs like “YMCA” and “Summer Nights” from “Grease.”
“Long as you’re moving, that’s all that matters!” Burgess said.
Participants are encouraged to do as much as they are able to.
“For anybody who can, bend over a bit,” Burgess directed.
“We haven’t waxed off yet,” said Parrott, pointing out that they had gotten stalled at “waxing on.”
Sitting beside Parrott was resident Julian Manigault, playing the bongos in time to the music.
Rehab resident Doris Lee was there for the last time before her release. She wore a belly dance coin scarf for the occasion, to encouraging hip-shaking.
Lee is planning to return to the Monday Zumba class after she moves back home because she enjoys it so much.
After the session was over, Burgess floated around the room, hugging and greeting and planting kisses on participants.
Mildred Watson is one resident who loves the Zumba classes.
“I wouldn’t miss it for anything, she says. “I find it very beneficial. It’s a lot of fun.”
She believes that it’s helped her balance.
She particularly likes the musical aspect, she says. Watson used to be a violinist, playing solos at her church. She also taught orchestra classes in Cumberland County schools.
She is one of the fortunate participants who can stand but she does keep her cane handy, she says, in case she loses her balance.
“I didn’t use it hardly at all today,” she said.
Afterward, she’s tired, she says — but it’s “a good tired.”
She knows that regular Zumba would be too challenging and appreciates that with Zumba Gold, “the elderly folks can enjoy it too.”
Watson has lived at the Lutheran Home, in a downstairs apartment, for three years.
Burgess and Norman volunteer their time weekly to teach the classes. Once a month, they also teach Zumba at Abundant Living Adult Day Care.
Lutheran Services got a grant to cover the cost of the Zumba instruction for the pair in Charlotte and Charleston, S.C. They began teaching classes in March.
“The administrator (Bill Johnson) here is so open-minded to everything,” Burgess says. “He’s amazing.”
Teaching the class helps her as well, Burgess said. One Monday she wasn’t feeling well and wasn’t sure she’d be able to teach.
“By the end of class, I felt great,” she said.