Summer fun is for the senior set too
Summer fun is not just for the young, but also for the young at heart. Many senior citizens think that aging means spending increasing amounts of time alone, especially for the widowed. However, that just isn’t the case in New Boston, and a couple of local ladies have made it their goal to get the word out.
Lee Ann Hawkins has lived in New Boston for almost 40 years. For the last five years, she has led an exercise group for seniors and those just wanting to increase their fitness level.
The class meets at Tapp United Methodist Church every Monday and Thursday morning. Lee Ann opens the church at 9 a.m. and participants are welcome to come at that time and warm up by walking the church corridors. At 9:25 she holds a brief prayer session, followed by exercises at 9:30. The work out session is free of charge, lasts about 30 minutes, and is open to any age or gender.
You don’t have to be a member at Tapp or any church at all to participate. The workout is patterned after physical therapy exercises, and caters to any fitness level. Lee Ann also holds a Bible study group in her home, teaches a Sunday School Class, and offers some Christian counseling services. She says staying busy is key to aging comfortably. “When you’re older and by yourself a lot of the time, you want something to fill up that time,” she said. “Above all else, seniors want fellowship with other people, and in my different groups and classes the people join together in fellowship and pray for each other.”
Another great resource for seniors in our area is the Senior Center located inside Oak Terrace Mission at 200 North Lindsey in New Boston, adjacent to New Boston Property Management. Oak Terrace Mission is a First Baptist Church facility, and the Senior Center is sponsored by Senior Services in Texarkana.
The center is open Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. They offer daily bingo games at 10:30 a.m. and a hot meal at 11:30 a.m. The meal is free to those over 60 years of age (donations welcome) and $5.25 for anyone under 60. Center coordinators welcome senior-oriented groups such as nursing home and home health care agencies to come speak, distribute pamphlets and reading material geared toward seniors, and hold health fairs and clinics.
The center also serves as the hub for the local Meals-On-Wheels program and welcomes volunteers.
Isabel Pierce Sem moved back to New Boston just over two years ago, after spending most of her adult life in the Dallas area and was surprised to hear that our local Senior Center even existed.
“I never knew that anything like this was available for our seniors, but I began to look into it and realized there are activities out there for our seniors, they just don’t know about them,” said Mrs. Sem.
Seniors should also visit local churches, as most in the area offer activities, classes, and trips geared toward those past retirement age. First Baptist Church New Boston has an XYZ Group (X-tra Years of Zest) that meets every 3rd Wednesday of the month at 11 a.m. in the FBC Fellowship Hall. This group participates in various social activities, including a periodic “Mystery Trip” in which participants are told to pack their overnight bag, but the destination remains a secret until their arrival. FBC also offers a sewing group (Sew Much More) on Thursdays 9 a.m. - 12:30 p.m., and Tapp UMC holds a knitting group every Wednesday at 2 p.m. More information on these programs can be obtained by calling the First Baptist Church office at 903.628.2531 or Tapp United Methodist Church at 903.628.2381.
Anyone interested in the menu or activities at the Senior Center can get more information by calling the center manager Angleia Eastman at 903.628.5441. For information on Lee Ann Hawkins’ exercise group or Bible study, call Lee Ann at 903.628.5791.