Key Takeaways

  • Every year, NISC's annual Programs of Excellence Awards honor and promote the outstanding programs offered by senior centers across the country.

  • Learn more about Pea Pods, a 2021 Programs of Excellence Award Honorable Mention in the Health and Wellness category.

NISC Programs of Excellence 

  • Year Awarded: 2021
  • Programs of Excellence Name: Pea Pods
  • Hosting Organization: Duxbury Senior Center, Massachusetts
  • Duxbury Population: 16,000

About Pea Pods

This program, designed to reduce isolation and increase overall wellness, started with the recruitment of older adults who weren't being reached via the senior center's virtual programs.

Pea Pods was offered two days a week for four hours with social time, educational programming, exercise, a healthy lunch, and a conversation circle. The “pods” were kept small, and program leaders developed safety protocols.

In all, 21 people, age 67-90, signed up, and 17 people completed the program. All participants said that loneliness and isolation were reduced, and that there were unexpected benefits including in-depth sharing of life experiences, making new friends, and having more energy. 

One participant described the program as "One of the happiest events of my life and the top events during my senior years. "

Key takeaways from Pea Pods:

  • Strong friendships were formed. Participants gather together outside of Pea Pods; they’ve formed a team in the Center’s bocce program, they have each other over to their homes; they telephone, and some text each other on the phone between Pea Pod sessions.
  • Participants stayed healthy and safe. No Covid cases during the course of this program.
  • The program reduced loneliness in older adults.
  • Participants increased their participation at the Center and attended programs outside of Pea Pods. Pre-COVID, only 28% of participants came to the Center to participate in programming three times a week. Now, 50% of participants come to the Center three times per week.

About Duxbury Senior Center

The Duxbury Senior Center offers "a Welcoming Place for All" and "is the community focal point where seniors come together for services and activities that reflect their experience and skills, respond to their diverse needs and interests, enhance their dignity, support their independence, and encourage their involvement in and with the center and the community. The Duxbury Senior Center also serves as a resource for the entire community for information on senior services, nutrition, and transportation programs, support for family caregivers, training of professionals and students, and for developing innovative approaches to addressing aging issues."