Helping Seniors Live Healthy, Active Lives
Senior Citizens Centers
Dorothy greatly values her independence. She recently celebrated her 66th birthday in the comforting familiarity of her own home. She remarked that aging has required some getting used to though. One of the hardest decisions she’s had to make was to give up driving. Not being able to go anywhere by herself was tough. She quickly became depressed and lonely. “At home it would feel like the walls were going to fall in on me,” she said. “I was tired of waking up and spending all day by myself.”
It took a tremendous amount of courage for her to walk into the Powell County Senior Center for the first time. “I was so bashful,” admitted Dorothy, “and a little scared to be around people. But the staff here helped me get over those fears.” Right away she fell in love with the center.
For two years Dorothy walked across the street to the center almost every day. When the center relocated into its new permanent facility in Stanton last year, she began using Foothills’ transportation program to travel to the center.
The agency’s four Senior Citizens Centers provide seniors sixty years and older with socialization, recreation, and nutritious meals. Seniors enjoy participating in exercise programs, recreational games, field trips, and educational and health screening programs. These activities allow them to remain active and live longer, healthier, more independent lives. Two of the centers are intergenerational programs, located in the same building as Head Start. The centers provide transportation to and from participants’ homes and takes them to the grocery store weekly.
The center has given Dorothy a community of people that support each other. “Everyone here is so kind,” she said. Coming to the center helped bring her self-esteem back up and combat feelings of isolation. “I have met so many good friends,” she said. “Everyone is so welcoming. They’re my family. We can talk about anything.”
Having an extended family like this is especially valued by the centers’ widows. Dorothy lost her husband many years ago and has been coping with the loss ever since. They met at a USO dance and were married soon after. He suffered a cardiac arrest while serving in the Army. Dorothy has the best stories that she enjoys sharing with others. Seniors at the Powell location have access to an outdoor courtyard to enjoy the sunshine and nature. Many days you can find Dorothy in a rocking chair on the back porch with other clients talking about the “good old days”. Her favorite activities at the center include playing Bingo and having birthday parties. She loves going on field trips.
She’s had her share of health problems. Six years ago she had breast cancer and is now cancer free. She recently fought high blood pressure, which she has managed with healthier eating and exercise. She works out every day on her home treadmill and stair stepper and in the center’s exercise room. “If there’s one thing I’m addicted too now,” said Dorothy, “its exercise!”
At home she loves to cook and enjoys spending time with her daughter and grandchildren – some of which live right across the street. In addition to attending the center, Dorothy spends a lot of time at church at night and on the weekends. She is grateful for all those who have helped her stay in her own home, but most of all she is grateful that these services are available to the seniors in her community. “Knowing someone cares and they will be there to help if you need it, it just makes me feel better,” said Dorothy. “It makes me feel safe and important. Thank you.”