To a Long, Healthy Life!

Huntington Beach Senior Center in Central Park – and Those Who Serve There – Focus on Helping Local Residents Age Well

Every time he delivers one of his popular health care presentations at the Huntington Beach Senior Center in Central Park, Dr. Amit Hiteshi thinks of, and honors, his grandparents.

“Their simple act of love and passing on of values has allowed me to thrive,” says Dr. Hiteshi, who, as the Center’s medical advisor, manages its roster of monthly health care-related presentations and works with other Hoag physicians to coordinate free health screenings and other activities. The center opened in 2016 following a major $3.775 million gift from the Hoag Community Benefit Program, which partnered with the Huntington Beach Council on Aging to establish the center.

Dr. Hiteshi says that his grandparents invested so much time and love in him that he views it “as a duty and an honor to give back in the form of service at the Senior Center. I feel we owe our success as a society and as individuals to the previous generation.”

Each year, the Senior Center serves hundreds of residents with a wide-ranging curriculum of classes, programs and services. They range from in-home care counseling, to physician-led presentations, to social clubs and activities. The fully furnished Hoag Health and Wellness Pavilion offers state-of-the-art exercise equipment and access to fitness classes and personal trainers.

In addition, the Hoag Community Benefit Program supports ongoing programing including free blood pressure checks and hearing tests, and guest lectures on topics such as memory, balance and the benefits and proper use of vitamin D. Dr. Hiteshi and other Hoag physicians volunteer their time to teach courses throughout the year.

“Hoag is proud to partner with the Huntington Beach Senior Center,” says Hoag President and CEO Robert T. Braithwaite, who grew up in Huntington Beach.

“It has always been a part of Hoag’s mission to make world-class health care available to as many people as possible. Through our involvement at the Senior Center, we are able to deliver that continued commitment to the residents of Huntington Beach.”

Dr. Hiteshi says one of the most popular lecture series focuses on mindfulness. Seniors derive significant benefits from meditation, which he says improves moods and relationships.

In fact, building and maintaining healthy relationships late into life is one of the most important things seniors can do from a health and happiness perspective, he says – and the classes and programs offered at the Senior Center make it easy for them to do so.

Dr. Hiteshi cites a fascinating study by Harvard University that began in 1939, making it the longest-running study of its kind. Its key findings: A healthier, happier and longer life is directly correlated to strong relationships. The study found that loneliness can be as harmful to human health as smoking and alcoholism.

“It’s critical that we help seniors find ways to reduce loneliness,” he says. “The Senior Center is meeting an important need, and is the perfect outlet for older adults in the community. It’s a hub for engagement, a place where local seniors can stay active and enjoy the major benefits that come from emotional support and relationships.”

As part of its two-year anniversary serving the community, the Senior Center is offering another mindfulness event in July. To learn more about the Center’s upcoming programs, visit hbcoa.org.