By Barbara Wells
The Meridian Star
...And be celebrated.
Lauderdale County Council on Aging board members are busy preparing for this year’s May Is Older Americans Month observance. The '70s might well be called the decade for the senior population of Meridian. It was June 16, 1970, that Mayor Al Key appointed a Council on Aging for the city. In 1976, Otto Coleman requested that members be appointed by supervisors at that time. Then in 1977, the group was incorporated and approved for IRS tax exemption.
Every year since 1963, May has been a month to appreciate and celebrate the vitality and aspirations of older adults and their contributions to our communities. Older Americans are productive, active, and influential members of society, sharing essential talents, wisdom, and life experience with their families, friends and neighbors.
This year, think about what your organization can do to help “Unleash the Power of Age” – this year’s theme. Giving our elders opportunities to volunteer their time to support those who are less fortunate, to teach others the skills they’ve honed over the years, or to become involved in civic matters are just a few ways you can Unleash the Power of Age. Help our older Americans stay positive, active, and looking forward.
The Council has set the following dates in May as celebration:
• May 7 – Golf Tournament, 9 a.m., Lakeview Golf Course
• May 14 – Bowling Tournament, 1 p.m., Family Bowl Lanes
• May 21 – Billiards Tournament, 2 p.m., Meridian Activity Center
•,May 15 – Tea & Fashion Hat, 2 p.m., Meridian Activity Center (sponsored by Hospice Compassus)
• May 2, 9, 16 & 23 – BINGO, 2 p.m., Meridian Activity Center
• May 10 – Cake Walk, 2 p.m., Meridian Activity Center (sponsored by Aldersgate Retirement Community
• May 24 – Health Fair, 8 a.m., Frank Cochran Center
• May 24 – Fish Fry, 11:30 a.m., Frank Cochran Center
One of the newest workshops at Meridian Activity Center has been a weekly session with Steve Owen on how to start collecting family stories – called “Life Writing.”
As a tribute to May's Older Americans Month emphasis, Steve wants to share an open meeting one evening to hear some stories compiled by former writers in his classes and to learn how to begin collecting family stories. Most all of us have "ghosts in our attics" or war stories worth passing on to our grandchildren. Ideally a younger family member will attend this workshop with an older member. Together they can discuss ways to begin the story interview, which hopefully will result in a written or taped family history.
If you have no one to bring to interview, that’s okay too. You can observe the processes discussed and take it from there. We are looking at a Monday, from 5:30 p.m.-7:30 p.m.. Call Meridian Activity Center further information.
Other MAC events
Responding to the request for more exercise classes, we are trying out ZUMBA on Tuesdays at 5:30 p.m. and Thursdays at 1:30 p.m.. This is a heated exercise, fast dance moves and lots of fun and laughter. There is a $5 fee per class paid to the instructors.
Brenda Golisch and her daughter, Courtney, are still in charge of the Slimnastics class Monday, Wednesday and Fridays at 4:30 p.m. Another dance class with weight variations, stretch bands and balls.
In one dance class we need help – our line dance instructor, Joyce Wagner, had to move on and we need a new teacher. Anyone out there? Can you lead a line dance class? We'll advertise as a beginning class to get some newcomers so you can start them dancing your way! Monday nights. Call Meridian Activity Center if you can help us out. (You will get paid.)
One morning class often overlooked is our Floor Exercise with Kay Nelson, from 8:30 a.m.-9:30 a.m. She will put you through a regime of calisthenics designed to strengthen and tone. Come experience one of her classes for free.
Then we have the seated exercise class with Johnny Jenkins, who has add some standing exercises to improve balance. We all know how important strength and balance is in avoiding the falls that can put us in the hospital! Pat Wilson teaches an evening Yoga class on Mondays and Thursdays, from 5:30 p.m.-6:30 p.m. Besides being an excellent stretch and relaxation class, it is free. Pat believes in sharing a good thing! Wear comfortable clothing.
Sadly, May 30 is Otha Barham’s last performance at the Center, beginning at 6:30 p.m. He will continue to play at various venues during the day.
Meridian Activity Center is getting up a team for the Make-A-Wish foundation’s April 6 Walk-a-Thon downtown. It’s just 3 miles in the downtown area. We’d love to have more members (and/or contributions). Call me at Meridian Activity Center. Wear a red T-shirt!
True, the center takes a little work to get here. That way we know you seriously are interested in what we have to offer. Come by way of 29th Avenue. That way you must stop your car at 36th Street at the four-way stop signs, and if you’re not talking on your cellphone, you’ll see our small sign and arrow pointing to the west, where the sun sets. Drive over to 32nd Avenue, turn left. It dead ends at our gate. Come in. You are welcome. Phone (601) 485-1812 if lost.
• Barbara Wells is director of Meridian Activity Center. You may
e-mail her at email@example.com