Senior Programs at FTJ – For All Seniors Living On and Off Campus

Residents painting

As part of the long-standing Franke Tobey Jones mission “To enrich and extend the quality of life for seniors in our community,” we provide many opportunities for seniors outside of Franke Tobey Jones to participate in our programs.

  • Fitness Program
  • Senior University
  • Senior Center
  • Summer Concerts on the Lawn
  • senior Prom
  • Tacoma Wellness Walk
  • Senior Art Show

The Fitness Program is available to community members (age 55 and better) for a nominal monthly fee. Participants in our program say how great it is to exercise with people their own age, and many friendships are created in the process!

Franke Tobey Jones is a leader in Senior Fitness in Pierce County with a comprehensive program developed by a nationally recognized wellness consultant. In fact, the Senior Wellness-Fitness Program has been a hallmark of our campus since 1998. In 2004, the state-of-the-art 6,000 square foot MJ Wicks Family Wellness-Fitness Center opened with wild success. Fitness Center participants have nothing but rave reviews for the exercise classes, free personal training and experienced and attentive staff. They say the staff have a magical ability to make exercise fun and special!

Our holistic, preventative Senior Fitness Program improves quality of life and maintains independence as long as possible. Wellness is the cornerstone of health and encompasses a holistic approach. Exercise helps maintain mental and physical health, and enhances the quality of life while prolonging independence. Participating in exercise programs results in improved self-esteem, self-confidence and intellectual performance. Socialization encourages a more positive emotional well-being and participants enjoy a strong sense of pride.

A large indoor walking track runs along the inside perimeter of the building allowing participants to stay active regardless of the weather outside. An open, spacious classroom gives participants ample room to take part in the classes taught by our energetic and knowledgeable certified instructors. Participants appreciate the lockers, showers and handicapped accessible restrooms.

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Senior University at Franke Tobey Jones provides a wealth of programs for lifelong learning for people 55 or better, for both campus residents and in the surrounding community. This educational and cultural program designed for seniors is unique to Pierce County. Senior University offers the opportunity to build skills, explore new subjects and enjoy the learning process with others. Lecturers and instructors are experts in their fields hailing from local colleges and universities, businesses, not-for-profits and cultural organizations, along with others who have retired with rich career experiences. Most classes are offered free of charge as a public service to the Tacoma-Pierce County community. No degree or level of educational experience is necessary to join a Senior University class, just an urge to learn and grow. You may participate in a single class or take advantage of a broad range of classes or series held in a variety of locations on our beautiful campus.

Franke Tobey Jones Senior University enjoys partnerships with many local cultural and educational organizations. Included in these partnerships are: University of Puget Sound, Tacoma Historical Society, Museum of Glass, Tacoma Opera, Tacoma Symphony Orchestra, Tacoma Art Museum, Clover Park Technical College’s plus 50 program, Broadway Center for the Performing Arts, Pierce County Aging and Long Term Care, MultiCare Health Systems, Franciscan Health Systems, Northwest Sinfonietta, Northwest Repertory Singers.

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The Point Defiance ~ Ruston Senior Center, just a mile from our campus, is operated by Franke Tobey Jones. Seniors 55+ can join in fun events and activities, stay active and healthy, make new friends, enjoy a health meal, and share experiences.

Thousands of program participants come each year for bridge, quilting, exercise, computer classes, lunch, language classes, and more. They come to see their old friends and make new ones. Some people come for the trips, while others simply come for coffee and companionship. You’ll find some here every day and others here for their favorite activities. This is the life that fills the Pt. Defiance~Ruston Senior Center.

The Point Defiance~Ruston Senior Center, started in 1978 by Catholic Community Services, moved to its present location in 1991. In 1998, when Catholic Community Services announced it could no longer fund the Center, Franke Tobey Jones agreed to take over operations. Over the years, participation has grown. Currently, about 660 seniors visit the Center monthly. Participants benefit from nutritious meals, exercise classes, health screenings, computer classes and much more. Hours: Monday through Friday 9:00am to 3:00pm. October through April the Center is also open on Saturdays 10:00am to 2:00 pm.

The Point Defiance~Ruston Senior Center prides itself in offering a broad range of services for seniors of every level ability. Our goals are to 1) Provide services to support basic nutrition, health care and independent living, 2) Provide education to allow seniors to act on their own behalf and 3) Offer activities designed to improve quality of life and promote general well-being.

Meals are provided at noon Monday through Friday (plus Saturdays October through April) for a suggested donation of $3.00 daily/$5 Saturdays. Sign up by Thursday at 1:00pm for Friday meals, sign up by Friday at 1:00 for Saturday meals. Catholic Community Services provides the meals Monday through Thursday and Franke Tobey Jones provides the meals on Friday and Saturday.

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Every summer Franke Tobey Jones hosts a wide variety of live summer concerts on our campus, all for free to the public. These concerts are hosted every Thursday night at 6:30 p.m., and guests are invited to family, friends, bring lawn chairs, blankets, a picnic dinner…and just enjoy! A full line up of concert bands are listed on our website at 

Each year Franke Tobey Jones hosts the Senior Prom for anyone age 55 or better. It’s held at the McGavick Conference Center in Lakewood. This is a fun way for seniors to kick up their heels or simply listen to great music along with your friends and peers of age 55 and better. Seniors can dress up or down, have their Prom photo taken and enjoy light refreshments. The McGavick Conference Center is a wonderful venue that allows plenty of space for sitting, mingling, dancing and watching with community members and friends that gather for this annual dance. 

If seniors are thinking about moving into a retirement community but just don’t know where to start looking or what questions to ask, then the Tacoma Senior Living Community Tour might be just the thing for them. Twice a year, five senior living communities in Tacoma, Franke Tobey Jones, The Weatherly Inn, Tacoma Lutheran Retirement Community, Narrows Glen and Merrill Gardens, come together and offer a one-day tour (10:00am to 3:00pm) of all five communities. We want to help seniors find the very best community that will fit their wants, needs, desires, location and budget.

Each year in early September we host the FTJ Wellness Walk and Fair. It is free and open to all FTJ Wellness participants, FTJ residents and the community at large as long as the participant is 55 or better. There is the option of walking 1/8th of a mile up to one mile…on and around our campus. The Health Fair will be open during and after the walk. Talk to health care professionals and pickup brochures regarding a variety of wellness topics. If you have not yet joined our Wellness program, which is open to the community at large, this is an easy way to find out more about it in a relaxed friendly atmosphere. Talk with those already participating and learn how to be a healthier, less stressed well person. 

Franke Tobey Jones hosts the Senior Art Show every other year in the fall. This is a first of its kind in Pierce County, and the art submissions come from throughout Washington State. The juried gallery of typically nearly 100 works created within the past two years features artists age 55 or better. To enter the Senior Art Show, go to There is an opening reception where awards are presented, and then the show stays at Franke Tobey Jones for several days.

Thanks to an exciting new partnership with Metro Parks Tacoma, in January 2018, the show will be housed in the Point Defiance Pagoda, STAR Center, and Seymour Botanical Conservatory. In a twist on the traditional art show reception, artists and the public will be treated to a progressive dinner and art tour to all three locations. Following the reception, art will remain on display in the STAR Center through January.

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Categories: Enjoy Your Age