Seniors enjoy food, company at center

At the Klahanee Lake Senior Center, the meals are great, but the company is even better.

“We’d like to think it’s the nutritional value of the meals that draws people in, but I suspect it’s actually the socializing benefits,” said Doug McCormick, the center’s senior services manager. “The meals and activities help a majority of those who show up to live a more active, healthy life.”

Three times a week — Monday, Wednesday and Friday — the center offers a hearty, hot, nutritionally balanced meal for seniors over 60 and their spouses. Menus are available for a month in advance, so you’re not stuck taking pot luck. Best of all perhaps, these hot meals are not being served on Styrofoam plates.

“My wife and I frequently do the serving,” said local resident Fred Teachout, age 90, “and we’re fortunate to be able to eat off of the china the center acquired when the Visitation Retreat Center was taken over by the city.”

Usually 30 to 55 people enjoy the meals and the companionship; it varies depending on which event immediately precedes lunch at the center.

“Wednesday is our busiest day, when the Millennium Band, a 10-piece swing band, plays big band music from the ‘30s, ‘40s and ‘50s,” McCormick said. “On Monday mornings, we have bingo, and that’s a pretty popular draw also.”“We’ve always had good music there at the center,” Teachout said. “Those old boys are playing for their lunch.”

Teachout should know. He and his wife have been going to the center for the past dozen years and know most of the people there.

“We both go dancing, play cards, play bingo and have a good time,” he said.

“Most of our mealtime visitors are in their 70s and 80s and there are lots of single males whose wives have passed away and they may not be too handy in the kitchen,” McCormick said. “The meals and the social activities get them out of the house, and they’re not sitting somewhere eating by themselves.”

In addition to the music and bingo, classes are available in art and woodworking, writing life stories and personal estate engineering, as well as soap making and Irish step dancing. Participants can also get financial advise and foot care.

“Our trips and excursions are another popular activity for our seniors,” McCormick said. “We’ll take a van load of people to Leavenworth or Gilman Village or Northwest Trek, for instance.”

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