Seniors want to stay busy doing as much as they can, said Lynne Graves, the nurse on duty at the St. Clair Senior Center in Murfreesboro. They also want to stay healthy and alert.
Jack Sweeney, Marjorie Kruger and Jessie Whitaker play cards, which they say keeps the mind sharp by spending time at the St. Clair Senior Center, a United Way Agency. (Photo by J. Thouin)
For more than 5,200 older adults in Rutherford and Canon counties, that means hanging out at a senior center to take advantage of social opportunities, health and wellness programs, educational seminars and time with friends.
“Gotta keep the brain active,” said Jessie Whitaker as she dealt a deck of cards to her friends Jack Sweeney and Marjorie Kruger.
All three come to the St. Clair Senior Center at least five times a week.
“There’s a lot of nice people here,” Sweeney said.
Socialization is an important part of the wellness matrix said Graves.
“When you’re alone you’re in poor company,” Graves said.
For those age 60 and older, senior centers are the focal point of a community, said Connie Rigsby, director of the Canon County Senior Center.
“We’re their one stop shop,” Rigsby said. “They can depend on us to give them correct information.”
In keeping with its mission is to bring together resources that help advance the common good of the community, United Way provides $44,000 per year to the St. Clair Senior Center and $20,000 per year to the Canon County Senior Center.
United Way is the ultimate partner, said Rigsby.
In part, because of United Way, said Rigsby, the Canon County senior center can offer exercise classes, meals for those temporarily homebound and assistance with tasks such as changing batteries in smoke detectors, putting quilts away for the summer and writing notes.
“The little things that people take for granted,” Rigsby said.
The St. Clair senior center uses their United Way funding to pay for a Nurse on Duty program, said St. Clair Senior Center director Linda Burt. This program consists of a part-time nurse to do health screenings and monitoring, nutritional assessments and health educational programs.
The center recently invited a local dentist to talk about the importance of gum health on heart health. Forty seniors took advantage of the class, Graves said.
Jerry Brown believes having a nurse on hand is really helpful, especially since so many seniors are dealing with diabetes. Brown uses the nursing service to have his weight monitored.
“I think it’s a fabulous thing,” Brown said.
Perhaps the most appreciated service is foot care. Even agile seniors find it difficult to trim nails, said Clare Christian, a senior at the St. Clair center.
Recently the St. Clair Senior Center began taking interested seniors to the Georgia Career Institute where students perform foot baths and clip nails for a reduced rate.
“I think it’s pretty nice they take you on a bus and only charge you $10,” said Marjorie Kruger.
Senior centers honor those who have served and worked in our community for decades, Graves said.
“It’s an opportunity for a community to pay it forward,” Graves said.
United Way believes the entire community wins when people are healthy. For more information about United Way of Rutherford and Canon counties or to make a donation, visit uwrutherford.org.
St. Clair Senior Center holds regular events like bingo, heater, arts & crafts and concerts, along with special events like trips.
Upcoming special events are:
Travel to Tunica
The only day to sign up for this trip to Sam’s Town Casino is June 1. The trip is scheduled for June 19. The cost is $49 per person based on double occupancy. The single rate is $79; triple $45; and quad $41.
Harrah’s at Metropolis
A one-day gambling trip to Harrah’s has been scheduled for June 26. The bus will leave from the lower level of the city garage at 8 a.m. and return around 8 p.m. There is no charge for this trip if 40 or more go on the trip.
The senior center will hold a dance at 7p.m. Friday, June 22. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Music by Sax & Sounds Admission $5 at the door.