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For SeniorsSenior Center Membership Helps Keep You HealthyBY HELEN GUZZO, MSW, Manager, Calhoun County Senior Servicesfriends passing away or moving to a new community. As life changes, older adults are challenged to stay engaged in the community and involved in activities they enjoy.Senior centers depend on the power and generosity of volunteers to welcome members and staff front desks; serve on boards of directors; run card groups, knitting, and craft groups; plan and host events; organize fundraisers; and help serve food. Whether you are in need of making new friends or finding a project, senior centers offer great opportunities to stay active and get involved.Senior centers offer social activities, support groups, exercise programs, trips to local attractions, and health education. There is always a calendar of offerings that include organized card games and potlucks. Senior Centers also provide free counseling for Medicare and Med- icaid as well as information about other services and programs available in the community.death of long-time spouses or friends. Many times, older adults are stressed with the care of their ailing spouse and need support. Senior centers offer sup- port with these life challenges. Making new friends takes courage to try new things. Walking into a new place is dif- ficult but you will find new friends and new ways to stay healthy at your local senior center.Senior centers have been established to help seniors maintain physical, men- tal, and social well-being. They are great places to meet new friends, enjoy a cup of coffee and a meal, and play games with others. They are a place of fun and belonging. If you are in need of a new friend and a place to get involved, check out your local senior center. In Calhoun County, three centers are currently oper- ating.Dealing with chronic disease is a common challenge of aging. Pain and physical limitations are facts of life for many people over age 60. Did you know that 92% of seniors have at least one chronic disease and 77% have two chronic health conditions? Staying ac- tive and engaging with others are the keys to staying healthy.Sometimes, people are resistant to get involved in senior centers because they do not want to hang out with “a bunch of old people,” but centers are full of success stories where people who were alone and starting to experience de- pression, found a new social network of people with interesting life stories. Just like a young adult starting college, to combat loneliness older adults need to have a willingness to try new things. Once a senior takes the risk, they find se- nior centers to be friendly and welcom- ing places. Usually senior centers offer lunch and learn sessions full of interest- ing topics and information for dealing with life challenges. If getting to a senior center is an issue, many senior centers can arrange for transportation. In Cal- houn County seniors can schedule a ride through Community Action by calling (269) 565-4144.• Forks Senior Center – Albion (517) 629-3842Isolation and loneliness contribute to the worsening of health conditions. A recent study of aging shows that people who describe themselves as lonely have a 59% risk of functional decline, and a 45% greater risk of death. Older people often live alone, with 29% of people aged 65 and older living alone, and 50% of women over 75 living by themselves. In Calhoun County, 45% of seniors over 60 live alone. Prolonged isolation can be as bad for your health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day. Isolation and lone- liness are associated with higher rates of chronic health conditions including heart disease, weakened immune system, de- pression, anxiety, and dementia.• Kool Family Community Center – Battle Creek (269) 965-0000Senior centers can be a solution to loneliness and isolation. Life chang- es are common for seniors, with many moving to new communities to be closer to their adult children or dealing with theHelen Guzzo, MSW, is the manager of Calhoun County Senior Services, which administers Senior Millage tax dollars. For more information, call (269) 781-0846.20 SCENE 4405 I CELEBRATING SENIORSLife is full of transitions and each new life stage has its challenges. Senior Centers are there to help seniors deal with life changes like family andstrategy to provide health education and opportunities for seniors to get informa- tion and counseling they need to access services.Calhoun County Senior Millage funds more than 30% of the operating costs of the Forks Senior Center in Albion and Heritage Commons Senior Enrichment Center in Marshall. Heritage Commons will celebrate its second year of opera- tions in July 2019! CareWell Services SW also funds these centers as part of aIn rural areas of Calhoun Coun- ty, Senior Health Partners hosts senior programming on Tuesday mornings at Homer First Presbyterian Church and in Tekonsha at the Village Community Hall. In the Athens area, senior activ- ities are held on Thursday mornings at the Lighthouse of Athens. Nurse health checks, a group exercise class, and lunch are offered. Senior Health Partners of- fers Fitness & Fun group exercise at 10 other locations in Calhoun County. Call (269) 441-0948 for more information. Staying as active as possible and getting involved will help you master aging.• Heritage Commons – Marshall (269) 558-6150


































































































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