Senior Centers in Action
Wondering whether or not a senior center's for you? Have a look at some of the things Tennessee's centers are doing across the state, as described by center members and staff. Then find your center.
Knoxville's Silver Stage Players, March 2017
From the Tennessee Stage Company: "The Silver Stage Players are an education/outreach partnership between Tennessee Stage Company and the John T. O’Connor Senior Center in Knoxville, formed to provide theatre training and performance opportunities tailored specifically to senior artists. The Silver Stage Players are a nationally recognized, award winning theatre group for seniors."
That's What Friends Are For is a film directed by Steven Trigg (based on a stage play by Jeanette Stevens) tackling the topics of senior scams and elder abuse. It represents two years of work on behalf of the cast and filmmakers, who have used humor and heart to put a spotlight on two very serious (and growing) issues.
Lauderdale County Commission on Aging Travels to Washington D.C., Fall 2016
Lauderdale County seniors at the LCCOA boarded a charter bus bound for the nation’s capital, Washington D.C., in October. A fun filled week was had by all! Some of the sites the group enjoyed were the Capital building, where they could see the inauguration platform under construction for the swearing in of the new president; the Lincoln Memorial; the monument to Iwo Jima; the World War II Memorial; the National Museum of African American History and Culture; the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial; the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier; and the Roosevelt Memorial (to name a few). On the route home, they stopped in Virginia to visit the Woodrow Wilson Presidential Museum.
LCCOA is accepting deposits for upcoming 2017 trips. Call 731-836-5444 for details.
Waverly Senior Center, Winter 2016
In January 2016, the Waverly Senior Center's craft class, Crocheting for a Cause, donated over 100 items to the following organizations, Sarah Cannon Cancer Center in Dickson, Monroe's Vanderbilt Children's Hospital and The Infusion Center at Vanderbilt. The craft class consists of all volunteers, and all materials are donated to the center.
Lauderdale County, Fall 2015
Lauderdale County Commission on Aging-Halls Senior Center Executive Director Joni Cook wrote to say, "Hard work and amazing community support does pay off!"
Pictured is LCCOA’s This 'n' That Gardening Group posing in front the center’s new purchase: a fifteen-passenger van.
"For the past four years, all proceeds of the Lauderdale County Commission on Aging’s fundraising projects have been earmarked to replace our well-worn 2001 van. We are so fortunate to have support in the county, surrounding counties, and even out of state to make our dreams come true. Wherever we may be traveling, transporting our seniors safely is always our first concern.
"We are grateful for all of the generous contributions made, regardless if the contribution was volunteering your valuable time or donating financially, large or small. This fantastic van will benefit many seniors in Lauderdale County for years to come!"
And what about that club, the This 'n' That Gardening Group?
During a recent get together, Mr. Norman Layne and his wife Barbara shared lots of valuable gardening tips. Mr. Norman constructed a mini greenhouse and demonstrated how to root cuttings from roses , hydrangeas and weigela. Mrs. Barbara explained to the group how they had transformed the red clay soil on their family farm to nutrient rich soil by composting the leaves gathered there and from her sister's farm. Mr. Norman went through the steps of mulching the leaves and adding urea nitrogen and water to start the breakdown process to create fertile compost.
And everyone brought lots of plants and seeds to share, of course!
Anderson County, Summer 2015
The Anderson County Office on Aging (OOA) has an ongoing Telephone Reassurance Program, with someone working 4 hours a day calling seniors from a roster of clients who have signed up with the office for at least one service. There are more than 5,000 people on this roster, the oldest a woman born in 1907.
The most recent caller is Roy. He dials a number, identifies himself, and tells the recipient that he is making a courtesy call to check on their well-being. He also informs them that if they need any assistance they can call the Office on Aging. Roy makes an I&A [Information and Assistance request] for the OOA Director, adding notes about the person with whom he spoke: how they are and if there were any needs he discovered while talking with them. If there's a follow-up needed, Roy makes sure the Director knows.
Roy loves his job, and he’s great at it! Most clients love hearing from him, like to talk with him. Since he started, he's made a lot of telephone friends, and some clients will call him to see how he is if it’s been a while since he’s called them.
One lady recently sat at a nearby table in a restaurant where Roy and some friends were eating. She overheard someone call him Roy. The Office on Aging was also mentioned. She approached the table, asked Roy if he was the Roy who worked in the Office on Aging. He said yes. She told him that he had recently made a courtesy call to her and “it made my day.”
Most people welcome the call, which shows them that someone cares. On any given day, one or two will stay on the phone for as long as fifteen minutes. Roy always takes the time to listen. Some ask if he can call them back on a regular basis. Some will call him back.
One man asked if there was help for getting a hearing aid. He was told he could talk with the OOA Director, that she could help him with an application for a hearing aid at little or no cost to him. And that's just one example of what the service can do for people. This program has so many good things going for it: It provides wellness checks, friendly conversation and socialization, and the opportunity to discover true need. Not least, it makes people smile.
*The Anderson County OOA hopes to continue the Telephone Reassurance Program with the help of volunteers when it loses the Title V-funded position currently meeting this need. OOA staff feels strongly that this is a very necessary and worthwhile service for Anderson County seniors.
Claiborne County, Spring/Summer 2015
Ever wonder about the impact Tennessee's senior centers have on their communities?
Claiborne County Office On Aging Director Denise West, along with her assistant, Tammy Austin, had the privilege of taking two WWII Veterans to the Honor Air Knoxville Flight 18 Reunion Breakfast in downtown Knoxville this past spring. Denise remembers, "It was early for a Saturday, but we wouldn’t have missed it. It’s such an honor to have these gentleman in our community, and we love them dearly. We are proud of our veterans and do what we can to honor them."
"Another thing that we do here is accept gently used furniture and appliances to donate to persons in need. We have outfitted entire apartments from donations. People who receive furniture from us know that we have had it donated or have purchased it at secondhand stores, and it is a really great way to show that we care about them and their quality of life."
Lauderdale County, July 2015
On Thursday, July 16 the Lauderdale County Commission on Aging's This 'n' That Gardening Club visited Happy’s Produce to learn about the operation of a local produce vendor.
Jeff McWilliams and Chris Rogers made sure each person in attendance left with a goodie bag of fresh produce. Refreshments of fresh cantaloupe and watermelon awaited the group. Jeff McWilliams also demonstrated the operation of the commercial pea sheller. The sheller can shell one bushel of peas in four minutes.
Afterwards, the group had lunch at Charlene’s, where daylily experts, Janene Tidwell and granddaughter Emily Moore, talked about raising and hybridizing daylilies.
Ms. Janene has had the honor of having a daylily named for her by Bill and Joyce Reinke in Bells. QUEEN OF HALLS. Emily has also been recognized for her hybridizing of daylilies.
There's more to see on the center's Facebook page at www.facebook.com/lccoa.
McMinn Senior Activity Center, July 2015
Due to illness, staff changes, and ongoing rain storms, we thought we might not be able to provide a garden and fresh produce for our participants this year. At the same time, we were also waiting to be notified concerning a Lowe’s grant to construct additional raised beds. With the direction of our Home Delivered Meals Coordinator, Yola Arrington, our staff member working through the SCSEP program in maintenance was able to learn to plan, plot, plant, tend, and grow a very successful garden. Our garden really looks great and should yield a greater harvest than this project was able to provide last year.
We were recently notified that the Lowe’s grant has been awarded jointly to us and a local intermediate school, which will enable us to grow additional raised beds next growing season to enable our less active seniors to continue to enjoy gardening. Another exciting addition to our programming this summer has been a Farmer’s Market on site each week on Tuesday mornings, with very reasonable prices!
There's more to see on the center's Facebook page at www.facebook.com/McminnSeniorCenter.
Lauderdale County, June 2015
Fifty travelers journeyed to the Crescent City: New Orleans, Louisiana. There was concern about the heat. As if turns out, it was actually hotter here [in Tennessee] than it was there. So far, I’ve heard many really enjoyed touring the National World War II Museum. Everyone had a great time and is ready for the next adventure! Ms. Gertrude Jones has been on every trip LCCOA has taken to date. That’s a total of 9 trips! She is definitely a “seasoned” traveler.
There's more to see on the center's Facebook page at www.facebook.com/lccoa.