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Retirement community class turns residents into rock stars

"It keeps us young, it keeps us healthy, and that’s really important when you get to be a senior," drummer Carla Bender said.

LOVELAND, Colo. — Two days a week, in a drum class at Good Samaritan Society Loveland Village's Wellness Center, retirement community residents turn into rock stars.

Janet Clark, 98, is one of the musicians. 

"I've never been told that before. It's really terrific," Clark said as she wrapped her head around the label "rock star."

Clark has attended the class for the last six months. Before she decided to give it a try, she never knew how physical drumming on an exercise ball could be.

Credit: Jaleesa Irizarry

That's also why Carla Bender joined about two years ago. 

"After the very first class, I said 'oh, this is something I want to do,'" Bender said. "It keeps us young, it keeps us healthy, and that’s really important when you get to be a senior." 

Jackie Gresham is the wellness instructor who brought the class to Loveland. She said she found it on YouTube and thought it would be a great way to incorporate healthy benefits into residents' routines.

"We got buckets and big exercise balls and real drumsticks, and so we just started the class and it really took on," Gresham said. "It’s good for not just getting the heart rate up, but also for brain health. You’re learning patterns, which is really important for brain health." 

From Neil Diamond to Elvis Presley, the participants practice drum routines to a variety of music. 

Credit: Jaleesa Irizarry

For some, the music is their favorite part. But it's not Clark's cup of tea.

"I said the music is awful," Clark laughed. "It’s just not my kind of music, but it’s got a wonderful beat." 

For Bender, the class means a connection to her son, a musician in Nashville. 

"It's in our family," Bender said as she looked at a photo of her son. "The ultimate dream, getting paid for what you love to do." 

Credit: Jaleesa Irizarry

The class has gained so much popularity, the instructor extended it from 30 to 45 minutes. 

"For 45 minutes, they don't have aches and pains. They don't have Parkinson's. They don't have MS. They don't have all kinds of other issues," Gresham said. "It gives a lot of vitality to this place, really." 

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