Seniors from every corner of Essex County had the Richard J. Codey Arena to themselves on Wednesday for the annual Senior Wellness Day.
Countless buses brought more than 2,500 seniors to the arena in West Orange for the seventh year in a row. Both ice rinks were thawed and populated with information about county senior services, vendors, hospital services, health screenings and much more.
“I was here last year, and I decided to come again this year because we have so much fun,” said Darrel Armstrong, who came to the arena with a contingent of seniors from the New Community senior living community in Newark.
Armstrong said that he runs into many old friends at the event every year, and he never fails to get into the spirit of the day. “Being that I’m a lot younger than some of them, I think I rejuvenate the people and make them feel so well,” Armstrong said with a laugh.
Seniors were greeted with the musical sounds of the Belmont Dixieland Band as they walked into the arena, but the festival-like atmosphere continued inside. After eating, picking up a free wellness bag from the county, and browsing vendors’ tables, many of the seniors took to the floor to dance.
Pauline D’Auria, of East Orange, said she came out to sign up for various services. She said the event is also a great opportunity to get out of the house and walk around.
County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo Jr. said the day is just another example of what the county does on a year round basis for its senior citizens.
“Seniors are very important to us in Essex County,” said DiVincenzo. “We have a very large population, and our job is to be helpful and supportive.”