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Seniors glad to be back at center

By Toni Milbourne - For the Chronicle | Jun 25, 2021

From left, Henrietta Eby, Joan Andres, Peggy LaGray and Bessie Reynolds were thrilled to gather around the table to play cards with one another at the Senior Center in Ranson on Tuesday. Toni Milbourne

RANSON — The Jefferson County Council on Aging welcomed senior citizens back to the Ranson Senior Center on Tuesday for the first time since March 2020. The center had been closed through the COVID-19 Pandemic.

Prior to the pandemic, seniors gathered daily at the center, located on 5th Avenue in Ranson, to enjoy activities together, meals and receive adult daycare services. With the onset of COVID-19 restrictions, the seniors found themselves relegated to their homes.

While JCCOA continued to provide in-home care services for those who received them, home delivery of meals, as well as non-emergency medical transportation, those who frequented the center on a regular basis were not able to do so. The seniors strongly missed the social interaction with their peers and with the agency staff.

“It is so good to be here and around people,” said Henrietta Eby, as she joined several of her friends for games of cards.

Joan Andres agreed, saying it was not at all pleasant being home for so long.

“It’s nice to not be looking at those walls,” she exclaimed, adding that even television had nothing to offer during the long days.

Donny Owens, a daily visitor to the Senior Center, was happy to return to eat lunch with others who came to the center.

“I’m sure glad to be back,” Owens said.

The first day back was a successful one, according to Chasidy Rosa-Morales, outreach coordinator. The seniors were able to play cards, pool and enjoy several games of bingo during the activity times. Approximately 35 seniors arrived for either the games, the meals or both.

Rosa-Morales said that pre-pandemic, a day where bingo was scheduled could see up to 50 individuals gathered around the tables in the center’s activity room. For the first day back, approximately 27 were on hand to play what is undoubtedly one of their favorite games.

“It was a great day. It went pretty smoothly,” Rosa-Morales said, mentioning that it was difficult to imagine what to expect after such a long break.

While the center has opened, there are restrictions on how many individuals can be in the building at one time. Seniors who wish to come to the center to participate in activities or to eat lunch must call in advance to reserve a seat.

Those wishing to reserve a spot can call the center at 304-725-4044. The menu for the upcoming weeks is available online at www.jccoa.org, to determine if one would like to sign up for lunch.