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Center keeping seniors young.

Byline: Betty Lilyestrom

COLUMN: Leicester Notebook

Remember the days when the popular depiction of a senior was a retiree whose main topic of conversation was a nostalgic relating of "the things I did when I was young," or a grandmother whose principal activity was knitting or watching soap operas and whose social life centered around weekly bingo games?

Don't know anybody like that? That's because they pretty much don't exist in this day and age.

Today's senior is still actively involved in life, looks forward instead of backward and is always ready to try new things.

What's responsible for the change? In Leicester, one thing is an organization called the Council on Aging and the Senior Center it operates at 40 Winslow Ave.

According to the COA's monthly newsletter, the Leicester Senior Horizon, May is National Older Americans Month. But the programs on its schedule celebrate that holiday 12 months a year.

Many programs focus on providing seniors with information on maintaining and improving their health.

Earlier this month, a program sponsored by the Lions Club dealt with community resources to help seniors live confidently with low vision. Another program, "How to Communicate Effectively with Your Doctor," will be presented at 10 a.m. tomorrow at the Senior Center by Elder Services of Worcester Area Inc.

The newsletter includes a monthly health information column from SHINE (Serving the Health Information Needs of Elders). And each month, seniors can take advantage of a foot clinic and a blood pressure clinic at the Senior Center.

The center is also the site for a senior nutrition program, serving lunch every weekday at noon. The lunches, for which a $2 donation is asked, feature main dishes ranging from chicken piccata to pot roast stew. And as a special health note, the calorie, fat, cholesterol and sodium count of each day's lunch is now listed in the monthly menu in the Senior Horizon.

The lunch program is one of the many Senior Center activities that provide an opportunity for seniors to get together and socialize. Many of the activities are aimed at keeping the seniors agile and healthy in both body and mind. Yoga classes are offered on Thursdays, tai chi classes on Fridays and line dancing classes on Wednesdays.

There is still bingo, at 1 p.m. every Wednesday, but it's held at the senior housing complex at 1075 Main St. For those who prefer card games, they're held at 11 a.m. every weekday, along with cribbage at 10 every Thursday morning at the Senior Center.

The Senior Book Club holds its monthly meetings at the center, the Creative Hands group meets there to work on art projects, and the Red Hat Society meets there regularly to socialize.

For more information, call COA Director Janice Reed Nowicki at (508) 892-7016. To reserve a seat at the hot lunch programs, call Jone Kenney at (508) 892-7204. Reservations must be made 48 hours in advance.

May is also a time when Leicesterites, along with Americans throughout the country, pay tribute to the memories of those who died in service to our land in time of war.

In Leicester, the memorial tribute will include rededication of veterans' squares throughout town by Cherry Valley American Legion Post 443 on May 17. The bus that will carry those participating in the rededication will leave post quarters at 167 Main St. at 9 a.m.

The Leicester tribute will culminate with a Memorial Day parade on May 25. The veterans organizations of Leicester have invited members of any group in town to march in the parade, which will leave from Memorial School on Pleasant Street at 10:30 a.m. and march up Pleasant Street across Route 9 and to the Common, where memorial ceremonies will be held.

Bruce W. Swett, chairman of the Memorial Day Committee, has asked that organizations wishing to march in the parade call him at (508) 892-9238 to confirm participation.

Post 443 will hold an open house at post quarters after the ceremonies.

Rochdale Post 7556, Veterans of Foreign Wars, will conduct its annual Poppy Day sales this month at two locations.

The sale will be held from 9 a.m. to noon May 16 at Wal-Mart on Main Street and from 9 a.m. to noon May 23 at Stafford and Pleasant streets in Rochdale.

Town Clerk Deborah K. Davis has asked residents to return their completed town census forms to her office at Town Hall as soon as possible.

"Residents who fail to return the signed forms risk being put on the inactive voter list," she said.

Residents who did not receive or have misplaced census forms may call the town clerk at (508) 892-7011 for a form to be sent to their homes.



CUTLINE: (1) The start of the 2006 Leicester Memorial Day parade as it approaches the center of town. (2) Kayleigh M. Fisher of Jacksonville, Fla., sports patriotic attire while awaiting the start of the 2005 Memorial Day parade in Leicester.
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Publication:Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, MA)
Date:May 14, 2009
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