Socializing at the senior center is good for your health and happiness
The key to happiness and health is to have good relationships; not wealth, fame or other so-called measures of success. This is one of the most important findings from the Harvard Study of Adult Development that began in 1938 and is actually still going on today. It is probably the longest running longitudinal study around. According to the current study coordinator, social connections (family, friends and community) are really, really good for us.
Conversely loneliness results in speeding up physical decline, including declining brain function. In fact there is some indication that satisfaction in life and relationships at age 50 is a bigger predictor of health in your 80s than your cholesterol level! So quality social connectedness should be right up there with exercise and antioxidants. Move over, kale, and enter the senior center!
The goal of a senior center is to help people get and feel connected; to kick loneliness to the curb. And the winter months do not slow our patrons down. In fact, the mySeniorCenter Fun Facts newsletter reports that senior center attendance in the winter season increases by 30 minutes per day! We are, after all, a hearty bunch here in Northeast Ohio.
So if you are Fifty Plus and looking to connect with others, here is a mere sampling of a few upcoming offerings. All events are held at our Center for Community Services, 29694 Center Ridge Road, and require an RSVP by calling 899-3544.
VALENTINE LUNCHEON, Feb. 14
The event kicks off at 11 a.m. with entertainment by John Kowalski on the keyboards, singing and playing a wide variety of music from the 1940s through the 1970s. Dance, tap your toes or simply sit back and enjoy the show! The pasta lunch and Valentine dessert is served at noon. Centerpieces are provided by the Renaissance, favors by Sprenger Hospice and lunch is sponsored by The Gardens of Westlake. Even if you don't know anyone there, you will make some friends before you leave. Cost is $10, payable by Feb. 7.
DR. SEUSS SPIRIT WEEK, Feb. 27-March 3
We are celebrating the life of Theodor Seuss Geisel, an American writer, cartoonist, animator and book publisher best known for his children's books under the pen name Dr. Seuss. Each day of the week will include a theme and daily prizes, similar to "Spirit Week" at school. The week concludes with a Dr. Seuss party on Friday, March 3, at 10 a.m. There will be specially themed treats and a showing of the beloved movie "Horton Hears a Who" starring Jim Carrey, Steve Carell and Carol Burnett. This event is free and with limited seating so please RSVP by Feb. 20. Check out our Fifty Plus newsletter for the daily themes at www.cityofwestlake.com.
HOUSING FAIR, Feb. 21
Are you overwhelmed, anxious or curious about thoughts of possibly downsizing or changing your living situation? Gathering information to help answer your questions can ease your mind. The event begins at 9 a.m. with a panel of experts who will present the different types of housing available, discuss affordability as well as timing of when to move and sell your home. Following the discussion there will be a "fair" with representatives from many of the local housing options for seniors. Speakers include: Kim Bermann of Berea Lake Towers/Crystal Water, Jill Kolczynski of My New Villa, Kathy Bultema of Devon Oaks, Sherry Ascher of Howard Hanna and Carleen Broberg of Rae-Ann. RSVPs are required by Feb. 14. Refreshments will be provided by Rae-Ann.
HEALTH SCREENINGS, March 2
Come monitor how well you are doing with your New Year's resolutions and health goals with these quick and easy checks. Bone density, glucose, cholesterol, blood pressure and chiropractic screenings are among the offerings. Drop in anytime from 10 a.m.-2 p.m.; no appointment necessary. These free services are sponsored by UH St. John Medical Center, Westlake Rehab and Nursing, Beltone, Health Source Chiropractic and Pro-Health Partners.
Stop by anytime during our business hours (Monday through Friday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m.) to meet the staff. We are happy to provide impromptu tours. Don't forget to check out our newsletter to find out more. It is available online at www.cityofwestlake.com. Click on the Government tab, then Community Services Department. You can also purchase a hard copy for $1 from our reception desk or sign up for a $13 annual subscription. Phone 440-899-3544 with questions.
I am the Director of the Community Services Department for the City of Westlake. I am also a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor.