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Senior Center Day draws crowd

September 17, 2009|By JANET HEIM

HAGERSTOWN -- The Girls Inc. parking lot was full Thursday, despite gray skies and occasional raindrops.

Senior Center Day drew plenty of local residents who wanted to see what the center had to offer for those ages 55 and older.

September is National Senior Center Month, and Thursday was chosen for Senior Center Day in Washington County. From the time the doors opened at 9 a.m. until they closed at 2 p.m., visitors were given a taste of the activities offered at the temporary senior center at 626 Washington Ave. in Hagerstown.

"My goal today is to get more people in the community who are vibrant, 55 and older, to come here, to take advantage of this wonderful center," said Kathy Fisher, senior center manager.

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She said the center opened a year ago, so the celebration was also "a happy birthday to us."

Demonstrations in line dancing, a DVD walking program and strength training were held in the gym. Four volunteer computer instructors worked with visitors on the 20 computers in the computer instruction room, providing the one-on-one instruction they offer on Tuesday and Thursday mornings.

Representatives from the Washington County Commission on Aging and the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program were on hand. Lisa McCoy, a registered dietitian with the Washington County Health Department was promoting a new weight-loss program called The Solution, which focuses on the link between obesity and stress.

Visitors also were invited to participate in a health benefits check-up and learn about programs called Living Well and Wired for Joy.

The event ended with refreshments and live bluegrass and country music with Buck and Debbie Fisher.

"I'm very impressed with what I've seen here," said Judy Marlowe, who lives in South Pointe. "I'm going to be here for the whole day. I'm a big fan of bluegrass music."

Diana Shepherd, 60, of Hagerstown, took her parents to visit and had one of her grandchildren in tow. Her own time to use the center is limited.

"I don't hardly have time between taking care of my grandchildren and my parents. I'm part of what you call the sandwich generation," she said.

Shepherd thought the center offered her parents a reason to get out of the house and socialize with other seniors.

"I kept telling them about this. It took this day to get them here," Shepherd said.

Washington County Commissioner James F. Kercheval and Sondra Funk, a representative for state Sen. Donald F. Munson, attended the event.

"It looks like they have a great turnout," Kercheval said.

Funk said she was pleased to see the many opportunities that can keep county seniors active and healthy.

Pat Cross is one of three regular participants in the Walking Away Pounds program and was glad to see many people trying the program with them on Senior Center Day.

Cross, 66, is a five-year cancer survivor. She said her doctor gave her six to 12 months to live after her lung cancer diagnosis.

She underwent rigorous radiation and chemotherapy treatments, then was told she needed to strengthen her legs and hips unless she wanted to use a walker. She started walking outside and built up her distance, but she couldn't walk outside in the cold because of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. So she began participating in the walking program at the senior center "religiously" Monday through Thursday.

"We really go, don't we Jeanne?" Cross said to one of her fellow walkers.

For more information on the Washington County Senior Center, call 301-671-2368 or go to www.wccoaging.org.

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