Connections 2017

Goldsboro News Argus - Progress Edition

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44 Seniors play bingo at the Peggy M. Seegars Senior Cen- ter on Thurs- day, Jan.12. 'Oh, I went line dancing. Do you know how?' I would tell them I didn't know how to line dance. But I really wanted to learn and finally got the chance when I retired," she said. Ms. Briley said line dancing helps keep her moving so she won't be so stiff. Now she spends almost every day –– she doesn't go on days she has a doctor or dentist appointment –– and she is usually there about four hours a day. Ms. Briley said if she didn't have the senior center to go to, she'd just be sitting at home watching TV day after day. "We have all kinds of activities," Ms. Edwards said. "We try to address all the needs of seniors. We also deal with cognitive needs with trivia and games. We have fitness class- es and a fitness room. We have a computer lab so they can access information. We offer class- es about health and chronic diseases so they can make good decisions for their health." And if a senior doesn't want to participate in any of these activities, he or she can go to the senior center just to hang out. "We see people who come in who are isolat- ed," Ms. Edwards said. "They've lost their friends because they have passed away, moved or gone into a facility. They were sitting at home. Then they came here and you see them come out of their shell and they're happy. You see a difference in them." Ms. Edwards said that isolation for human beings, especially seniors, can be a death sen- tence. "You find a higher mortality rate for those who are isolated," she said. "We always talk about the basic needs of food, clothing and shelter. But as human beings, we need contact with people. We need a purpose. "And the senior center provides all of that. Here, you form a support group and they look after each other. It gives them a reason to get up in the morning." Another important part of the senior cen- ter is the meal it serves five days a week. "The purpose of serving those meals is that we know that individual is receiving one nutritious meal five days a week," Ms. Edwards said. "Sometimes we have individu- als come in and they don't eat at home, not because they don't have the food, but because of their lack of appetite and things like that. But then when they sit down here and are socializing with people, they eat that meal. The socialization part with that meal makes the difference." Ms. Edwards said that a lot of people don't realize that the senior center also houses Wayne County Services on Aging, which pro- vides a multitude of services for older adults. "So when a senior comes here to get involved in activities, if they have a need that's unmet, they can also talk to someone about services they may need," she said. "If a senior needs assistance with some of their personal care so they can be independ- ent in their own home, we are able to send a CNA into the home to help. Our objective is to help seniors remain independent at home, to prolong or delay them being placed into a facility. We all want to stay home. It's great we have those facilities because sometimes it comes to a time when someone can't say home along and be safe. But a facility is expensive. And it costs the state, too. We're providing services at a lower cost that can also keep you at home." But it's more than just allowing a senior to remain at home. "We want to be invested in the seniors to help them live well," Ms. Edwards said. "Who said that once you retire, life is over and you can't enjoy life, have fun and live well? It's just another chapter of your life. If you come to the senior center, you'll have a whole differ- ent perspective on seniors and how they live. They're active. They cut up just like they were teenagers sometimes. This is a fun place to be." In addition to in-home care, there is also transportation for seniors to get to their doc- tor appointments or to go get groceries. A group respite program meets three days a week from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. for those with dementia or Alzheimer's. It gives their care- givers a much needed break. "They know their loved one is being taken care of," Ms. Edwards said. "We provide activi- ties that are fun. We also make sure they have a meal. And we do music therapy for them, and they respond to that." Also at the senior center is an information options counselor. "If someone has changes in health or a situ- ation that they're looking for services, they can come to her and she can see if she can hook them up with local resources, financially or physically," Ms. Edwards said. "We have services for the blind here that's open to anyone; you don't have to be 60. We have health information. We have Medicare D counseling. Not only does the senior center benefit older adults, but it also has an effect on the entire community, Ms. Edwards said. "Because the seniors come here and are moving and are happy, some volunteer out in the community," she said. "And when you have a purpose and you get out, you feel better. You're not stuck in the house becoming depressed. That can affect your health. When you sit at home staring at four walls every day, you're gong to worry about things. Worry and stress cause health problems. It affects your health and the cost of going to the doctor goes up and the cost of medication goes up." Ms. Edwards said a lot of people see the senior center as a place to go and sit in rock- ing chairs. Although there are rocking chairs out in front of the center, it's a lot more than that. "We need to see that seniors can live well and have a good life," she said. "There may be some aches and pains, but who said you can't travel and dance? The love of life doesn't end because you've retired. Life can still be enjoy- able. "What the senior center does for people physically, mentally and emotionally, you just can't put a price on it," Ms. Edwards said. "I want people to feel like, 'I'm part of the Peggy M. Seegars Senior Center and we have a great time. Too bad you're not old enough to be part of it.'" Life gets better Continued from page 43

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