COMMUNITY HAPPENS WHEN SENIORS ARE CONNECTED

This whole article as published on the NHCF website from a visit to PCC and a presentation at their annual meeting. Thank you to the NH Charitable Foundation for all their support.

 

https://www.nhcf.org/what-were-up-to/community-happens-when-seniors-are-connected/

 

 

The Penacook Community Center offers programs for neighbors of all ages — from infants to elders. For Kathy and Paul St. Louis, the center’s senior programs gave them a way to create strong community connections when they moved to town.

Paul St. Louis retired seven years before his wife, Kathy. With the freedom from work came an unwelcome side effect: a feeling of being unmoored from purpose.

Paul and Kathy had recently moved to be closer to Paul’s cardiologists. Their children and grandchildren were spread out from Missouri to Alaska to California.

A friend from church told them about the Penacook Community Center.

They joined. Paul started serving meals to seniors, volunteered on the board of directors, went on senior program outings, found a friend who was similarly obsessed with cribbage.

Increasingly, people are moving to new communities after they retire. When they do, they stay healthier and happier when they create relationships in those new places. Nonprofit community and senior centers provide points of connection.

Kathy has since joined Paul in retirement. They read to children in the community center’s preschool; Kathy has done Tai Chi; they have joined trips to Ogunquit, Maine, the Winnipesaukee Playhouse and more. When Kathy learned through the center that the local soup kitchen needed a secretary, she volunteered.

And every week, they have lunch with friends — with Clay and Marti and Iris and Beverly and Adrien and Lizette … People they know, and who know them.

“Once you get involved, it’s a wonderful circle,” Kathy said. “We all take care of each other.”