Engage at every age: Sr. Services celebrates

Published 10:37 am Thursday, June 7, 2018

Across the country, older Americans – a rapidly growing population – are taking part in activities that promote wellness and social connection.

They are sharing their wisdom and experience with future generations, and they are giving back to enrich their communities. They’re working and volunteering, mentoring and learning, leading and engaging.

For 55 years, Older Americans Month (OAM) has been observed to recognize older Americans and their contributions to their communities. Led by the Administration for Community Living’s Administration on Aging, every May offers an opportunity to hear from, support, and celebrate the nation’s elders.

This year’s OAM theme, “Engage at Every Age,” emphasizes the importance of being active and involved – to participate in activities that can enrich physical, mental and emotion well-being.

For 34 years Davie County Senior Services has provided programs and services to older adults, their families and caregivers.

In addition to the regular exercise classes, computer classes, card and board games, art classes, each week offered a number of special events in which older adults could participate and the community could get engaged by volunteering.

The month kicked off with a day trip to the Billy Graham Library in Charlotte. Fifty-three seniors spent the day touring the library and grounds and enjoying lunch. On May 2, 17 crafty women made a necklace under the tutelage of Beverly Aguirre from the Final Bead.

May 3  offered an opportunity to engage the younger generation when Senior Services brought Living History Day to the fourth graders at Mocksville Elementary. Children learned about some of the dying arts, such as spinning wool demonstrated by volunteer Kim Buterbaugh and basket weaving demonstrated by volunteer Linda Owings.  Joel Ferdon with the public library brought artifacts and information regarding Davie history to share. Kim Shuskey, Senior Services Director, assisted by volunteer Pat Stine, showed the children how it felt to live with some conditions common to older adults, such as various diseases of the eye and arthritis.  The day was capped off with interviews with volunteers Carl Fulton, Betty Niblock and Bud Stroud who shared with the children information about their lives growing up and how it differed from today’s children. The students asked many questions and were fascinated to hear how much things have changed.

The first week of May ended with a program offered by Senior Services’ Health and Wellness Coordinator Jessica Smith entitled Looking Forward…Living Forward on Friday, May 4. Participants accessed their own inner wisdom and recognized the wisdom in others through frank and open conversations and walked away with a positive attitude toward aging and life.

The next week started with an official proclamation of Older American’s Month at the Davie County Commissioners’ meeting on May 7.  Residents of Mock Place apartment heard about the programs and services offered by Senior Services, as well as a review of Medicare in a presentation by Kim Shuskey.

On May 8, attorney Lynne Hicks shared a seminar titled, “Hot Topics in Estate Planning”.  The week ended on May 11 with the annual Mother/Daughter Banquet. Approximately 170 women enjoyed dinner and entertainment of tap dancing by Ms. Senior Davie County Judy Phillips and singing by former Ms. Senior North Carolina Linda Anthony.  Mocksville Mayor Will Marklin and his wife, Julie, helped to serve dinner, along with Senior Services Advisory Council member, Priscilla Williams.

Week three brought a special Senior Lunch on Tuesday, May 16. More than 60 participants enjoyed lunch and heard from some winners of this year’s SilverArts competition.  Artists Mary Hall, Diane Hulbert, Nina Stallings and Danny Casstevens shared what inspires their art, gave some history about how and when they started with their art, and Casstevens closed the program with a song.  Davie Human Resources Director, Stacy Moyer, Veterans Service Officer Meagan Tomlin and Advisory Council member Lash Sanford helped to serve the lunch.

Throughout the month, Senior Games was going strong and several community leaders helped out at those events, including CNA students from Davidson County Community College.

On May 17 the Senior Games Closing Ceremonies and SilverArts Follies was held. Almost 100 Senior Games participants enjoyed a meal and celebrated the games, got a final look at the SilverArts entries and were entertained by the Performing Art entrants and the cheerleading squad.  County Manager John Eller, Advisory Council member Priscilla Williams and Senior Games Ambassadors Ted Freshwater and Alice Barnette helped with the event.  Mary Beth Scebold, Shanda Smith and Recreation and Parks Director Paul Moore served as judges for the performing arts.

The following week started with a movie on May 21, with popcorn.

On May 22, 14 seniors went to the Outer Banks for tours, meals and the NC coast in the springtime.

Thursday, May 24 was the date for a bingo social, where participants enjoyed games, prizes and refreshments.

The month ended with a celebration of National Senior Health & Fitness Day on May 30 – the 25th anniversary of the national celebration, with a theme of “Active Today . . . Healthier Tomorrow”.

More than 60 participants enjoyed games of ping pong, pickleball, bocce, cornhole and oversized versions of Yahtzee and tic-tac-toe.  The games wrapped up with friendly competition through a relay event. Lunch was served hot off the grill manned by volunteers Carter Robertson and Richard Pierce.  Community volunteers who helped with the games and serve lunch were County Manager John Eller, Human Resources Director Stacy Moyer, Elections Director Tabatha Parrish, Bermuda Run Town Council member Rick Cross and Recreation and Parks Athletic Program Director Amanda Achor.

Throughout May, Senior Services engaged community leaders by inviting them to see first-hand the impact of older adults on the community, as well as the impact that senior services has each day in the lives of older adults.  Leaders were invited to deliver meals, serve lunch, or help with a special event. Many responded by giving their time to help those who have given so much to the community.

Several community leaders helped in the nutrition programs at Senior Services, at the daily lunch on site and delivering meals on wheels. County Manager John Eller, Intern Elizabeth Martiniuk, Mebane Foundation President Larry Colbourne, Davie Community Foundation President Jane Simpson, Bermuda Run Town Council member Rick Cross, and Advisory Council members Gladys Scott and Lash Sanford helped to serve lunch on site throughout the month.  Between 40 and 65 people come each weekday to Senior Services for lunch.  In addition to the meal, an activity, program or speaker is available to the participants each day.  Older adults can receive a nutritious meal, an engaging activity and socialize with their peers every weekday during the lunch program.

Jim Murphy, Senior Services’ Advisory Council member and regular meals on wheels volunteer, took along John Gallimore, director for the county’s technology solutions department to deliver meals.  Another regular meals on wheels volunteer and Advisory Council member, Gary Snow, brought County Commissioner Terry Renegar along.  Mocksville Town Board member Eric Southern delivered meals with regular volunteer George Crew.  Senior Services serves approximately 140 meals each weekday to those who are homebound and unable to prepare food for themselves.  These meals are delivered by caring volunteers and more volunteers are always needed.

Older American’s Month was a busy, fun and successful month and was a great way to celebrate how Davie County Senior Services encourages our community to “Engage at Every Age”.

To learn more about the events or volunteer opportunities at Davie County Senior Services, contact them at the Bobby H. Knight Senior Services building, 278 Meroney St., Mocksville, 336-753-6230, at www.daviecountync.gov/seniorservices or on Facebook.