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Senior Center open house showcases facility

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Senior Center open house showcases facility

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DEBBIE LURIE-SMITH/EDITOR Jones County Commissioner Sam Kitchens speaks to attendees of the Senior Center Open House July 31. includING information about the benefits seniors receive from the program in addition to food and entert

COMMUNITY OUTREACH

An open

house at

the Jones

County

Senior Center

turned out to be an

inspirational as well

as educational event.

Attendees to the July 31 program were welcomed by Camile Vickers,director ofthe operations program for the Middle Georgia Community ActionAgency.Sheexplained that the agency’s services for seniors are designed to improve their quality of life not only by providing nutritious meals, but also by presenting them opportunities for social interaction, and education.

“The meals you receive are state approved for healthy living,” Vickers said.

The speaker said the programs for Senior Centers have changed because the members have changed.

“Welookdifferent.Wedon’t look like our grandmothers, and we want to do more than bingo,” she said.

Vickers said last month the members got their nails done and visited the Tubman Museum. She said they like to Zumba and to line dance.

“We’re living our best life,” she said.

Master of ceremony duties for the event were shared by Vickers and administrative assistant Shirmetra Hood.

JonesCountySeniorCenter Director Ann Carter said the nutrition program provides one-third of the daily nutrition seniors need.

“This helps us stay in place as long as possible,” she said.

Carter said the Jones County program serves 750 meals to seniors a month and 9,000 meals a year. She said the center offers health and wellness programs that include exercise, strength, and balance.

“Our recreation and education programs reduce stress and depression,” she said.

Kathy Brown spoke representing Lynn Haven Health and Rehabilitation. She said representatives of the facility visit the Senior Center each month to provide exercise and a helpful activity.

She pointed out that Lynn Haven offers short-term rehabilitation in addition to long-term nursing care.

Betty Pitts said she has been a member of the Jones County Senior Center for nine years and it is a wonderful place to be instead of being home alone. Pitts said she has made many new friends and she enjoys the field trips, arts and crafts and gardening.

“After I retired I went shopping everyday. When I started coming here instead, I saved a lot of money,” she said to the apparent delight of the audience.

Pitts said the Senior Center has wonderful leaders who go out of their way to be helpful, and she concluded with an original limerick.

“If you want to be happy and smile each day, join us here, we’ll teach you how to play.”

Medicare consultant Gary Moore said he would be back in a couple of weeks to play bingo and talk about Medicare.

“I’m happy to tell you more money was put into Medicare this year. Medicare is the most wonderful insurance you can have, but it’s also the most complicated,” he said.

Moore said Jones County has some great plans available and he would be back to help the members to make the right choices.

Mary Manson is an employee of the center and helps members with transportation and physical activities. She said she leads members in different types of exercise from chair exercises to using the equipment in the exercise room.

“Dancing is exercise, too, and we love to dance,” Manson said. “I bring the laughter here; it’s good for the soul.”

Theinspirationalportionof the program was not planned. It came about when a young woman asked to share a song, while the people in the filled to the brim meeting room waited patiently for time for the program to begin.

As Makeda Nichelle started singing, members of the audience seemed to automatically become her back up singers and the result was a treat for everyone.

Later, at the conclusion of the program, the young woman was asked to sing again, and the combination of Nichelle’s voice and the mature voices that joined her created an ethereal experience that was even more amazing because of the spontaneity of it all.

Jones County Administrator Jason Rizner and CommissionerSamKitchens attended the program. They were asked to speak after the music ended and before lunch was served.

Rizner said he appreciated everyone who helped make the Senior Center a success, and Kitchens said the program and the tour of the center were educational for him.

“It’s one thing to sit on the board and make decisions but its quite another to see what a program like this means to people’s lives. I thank you for inviting us,” the commissioner said.