05/09/05 — Senior Center celebrates May with slate of events

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Senior Center celebrates May with slate of events

By Barbara Arntsen
Published in News on May 9, 2005 1:46 PM

Peering out from underneath his red and blue ball cap, 78-year-old Daniel Hubbard keeps a watchful eye on the pool table.

It's mid-morning at the Senior Center on John Street in downtown Goldsboro, and Hubbard has already played several games of pool.

"What really matters," he explained, as his friend stacked the balls for the next game, "is that the eight-ball is in the middle, and the "1" is in the front."

Senior Center

News-Argus/Kaye Nesbit

Standing between the balloons, Yvonne McLamb, Services on Aging director for Wayne County, smiles after pinning a corsage on 98-year-old Sallie Bryant. Ms. Bryant is the oldest member of the Senior Center.

The balls soon scatter across the table, some dropping into the side pockets, giving his opponent an immediate advantage.

Hubbard says he's not worried. He has been on a winning streak.

Right about then his pool partner, Raymond Barnes, misses a shot so Hubbard takes his turn.

When questioned about his age, Barnes laughs and says, "Well, today, hmm, I reckon I'm 78, but I don't know how old I'll be tomorrow."

Barnes and Hubbard are just two of the more than 50 senior citizens who visit the Senior Center on a daily basis.

Today marks the kick-off of a month long list of activities beginning in the county to celebrate Older Americans Month.

Wayne County's Services on Aging department, the city's Parks and Recreation department and WAGES, are all partnering to provide a number of activities for the month.

Those activities include a health fair on May 18 at Berkeley Mall, a dance May 16 at Herman Park and a walk and picnic at Herman Park May 25.

When America began officially recognizing its senior population in 1963, only 17 million citizens had reached their 65th birthdays.

In 2002, the 65 years and older population numbered 35.6 million, and by the year 2030 it's projected that the population will more than double to more than 70 million.

There are approximately 18,000 citizens in Wayne County over the age of 60.

The 2005 Older Americans Month theme, "Celebrate Long-term Living," was chosen by the Administration on Aging to recognize and honor the valuable contributions of older persons to their communities as they age.

"Our services are available to any adults, 60 years or older, and the programs are free," said Yvonne McLamb, Services on Aging director.

The services provided by the department are numerous and include in-home aid services, transportation, health screenings, Medicaid management assistance and educational seminars.

Services on Aging is also the coordinating agency for the senior health insurance information program and has trained volunteers able to counsel seniors on Medicare questions and supplements.

Legal services for will writing and assigning power of attorney are also offered, but the department does not provide court representation.

"We also have a caregivers' respite program for family caregivers, which provides help with someone with memory loss or Alzheimer's," Ms. McLamb said.

That program gives family members a five-hour break a day, three days a week.

In addition, WAGES brings in a lunch to the center every week day, which provides food for about 50 citizens.

Wayne Community College also offers a variety of continuing education classes at the center, including computer classes, sewing, Bible study, crocheting, ceramics and painting.

The morning art classes have between 12 and 15 students, spread out among three or four tables in the front room at the center.

During one art class, one woman is carefully putting the finishing touches on a painting of three African-American women. At the next table, a student paints a whimsical picture of two dogs and cat riding in a wagon.

Other activities offered at the center include exercise classes, choir rehearsals, Bingo and a monthly party.

The center is also involved in the Senior Olympic Games and provides monthly field trips.

"At Easter, we went to Williamston to see an outdoor drama," Ms. McLamb said.