“Some would come every day if they could. I know for me, being with them reduces my own stress. I never want to miss a Monday with them.”
Monday is Senior Living Program Day at the Barrio Nuevo Casa Saludable (Health Home) Clinic. In the morning, the nine-passenger Naco Wellness van circles town, picking up senior citizens who don’t have transportation. That allows them to meet up with 35 to 40 others for three to four hours of senior fun. For some participants, the year-old program is their only time to socialize all week.
“When the program began, the people weren’t animated, because during the pandemic, everyone was stuck at home,” said Promotora Cecelia Juarez. “But that quickly changed. They’ve come back to life again. For some, this is their only chance to visit the clinic, too. They like to get their blood pressure or blood sugar checked right away. Our clinic programs have made them more aware of how they can take care of their health.”
Each meeting includes sharing wellness information and movement exercises led by Zumba instructor Lucia Luquez, then it’s on to sewing class and playing games. Bingo is a favorite. Chef Adrian Rascon serves a healthy lunch, and the day ends with birthday celebrations and dancing. “They dance a lot,” Juarez said.
Promotora Yesenia Tarazon often drives the van and shared this story about one passenger: “He’s over 70, and lives alone. It’s his only opportunity to get together with others. He loves to tell stories about when he was a cowboy on the ranches, and the bucking broncs he handled.”
The women are especially happy to be there each week, Juarez said. “Some would come every day if they could. I know for me, being with them reduces my own stress. I never want to miss a Monday with them.”
Chef Adrian Rascon
After 20 years of working all over Mexico, Chef Adrian Rascon is back home in Naco doing exactly what he loves to do: cook for others.
He learned his first recipes from his mother, who is 90. “Her salsa is wonderful. Everyone agrees,” he said proudly. He cooked his first meals for his eight brothers and sisters, then left Naco to train in international culinary arts.
Now he cooks lunch for the Senior Living Program and other NWI events.
“All the seniors help plan the menu. They love Mexican food the best, but I surprise them with other dishes, too. I watch YouTube videos to get ideas, and add my personal touches,” he said. “I love using produce from San Jose Garden whenever I can.
“It means everything to me to be chef here. I feel happy and satisfied that I can help so many people. I’m grateful to Tom Carlson and Lupita Sanchez. I hope to open my own restaurant in Naco soon.”
Help Seniors Continue to Grow
The NWI clinics provide people with a safe and welcoming environment to learn and grow. You can help support the seniors of Naco by volunteering or donating supplies.