Lebanon Senior Center Thriving
The largest draw at the center is lunch offered every Monday through Friday, which Hightower said brings in around 150 people each day. Even for seniors who cannot attend, the volunteer staff takes meals into the community.
We send 45 to 55 meals a day to seniors, and Meals on Wheels also operates out of the center, Hightower said.
Many of the unique fellowship, education and physical opportunities at the center go unnoticed by those who are not members. Hightower said they have a large array of activities and trips scheduled this year for local citizens 55 years and up.
To keep seniors active, the center offers exercise classes twice a week with low impact activities, two line dance classes with other dances included and water exercises at the pool at the Jimmy Floyd Family Center.
One of the new additions to the center is a computer class taught in a room full of brand new desktop computers donated by Middle Tennessee Electric Membership Corporation.
Hightower said a volunteer teaches the class daily on the 15 new computers, showing seniors everything from how to turn a computer on to working programs, surfing the Internet and more.
A lot of seniors will take the class, go home and work on their own computer and then take it again if they need help, she said.
Also, the center offers classes on financial planning, legal issues that seniors must deal with, and in February and March, there will be income tax preparation classes to prepare seniors for filing their annual taxes.
New additions to the centers offerings are a Grief Support group and a Caregiver Support group for seniors and those giving care to seniors. Hightower said they noticed a need for Grief Support in the center and the community and started a group 14 months ago that meets there.
The Caregiver Support group was also answering a need they found at the center and the group was established six months after Grief Support. Both groups have helped many local seniors talk and deal with the loss of loved ones.
The Grief Support group has gone over really well so far, Hightower said.
The center also has several trips planned this year to destinations such as Alaska, New York City, The Biltmore Estate in Asheville, N.C., and Boston, Mass. Hightower said the trips are popular and many seniors enjoy traveling, even on short day-trips.
She noted that in 2011 she took 54 seniors on a cruise and another volunteer traveled to New York City with a group of seniors. She said they always attempt at least one large trip each year.
They love to travel, and we have a lot of trips coming up, she said.
In March, seniors can travel on a Western Caribbean cruise, to the Biltmore Estate in April, Alaska in May, California and Boston in July, England and Mackinac Island in September and New York City in November.
Once a month, Hightower takes the seniors shopping to local malls and said they enjoy going to concerts, plays and other entertainment venues.
While the seniors enjoy fellowship and activities at the center, Hightower pointed out many still volunteer in the community as well. A group of 25 seniors go to local schools and read to elementary school children and help teachers in the classroom or after school.
They go to help at-risk children, they love to reach out into the community, she noted.
The center is also dealing with a budget crunch from the City of Lebanon and implemented a $25 membership fee after their budget was cut last year. However, donations from the community continue to stay strong.
Weve never turned anyone away because they couldnt pay that membership fee, Hightower said.
The city also stopped allowing senior citizens to walk at the Floyd Center for free during their budget session last year.
The staff at the center is made up of volunteers, but Hightower said they could always use more. She said there are plenty of opportunities from serving lunch to helpingteach classes or other services.
We have a ton of volunteer opportunities, she said. You have to love them to work here.
Hightower encouraged young seniors to come by and see what the center has to offer, whether they like to play cards, eat a good meal for lunch, play pool or travel with others.
There is a lot for everyone here, at every age, she said, noting the age requirement is 55-years-old and pointing out their oldest member is 105-years-old.
Lebanon Senior Citizens Center is located at 670 Coles Ferry Pike, across from the Jimmy Floyd Family Center. You may contact the staff at 449-4600.
Staff Writer Patrick Hall may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.