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Seniors now have ride to center

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POSTED: July 24, 2009 9:18 a.m.
A meal is much better when you have someone to share it with.
“Because when you live by yourself, it doesn’t taste the same,” said Ann Balaskiewicz. “I’ll tell you that.”
Similarly, going to a local senior citizens center is better than sitting home alone all day, and now Liberty County seniors have a way to get there.
Senior Citizens, Inc. in Savannah officially took over operations at the Hazel B. Carter Senior Center July 1 and local officials gathered for a ribbon-cutting ceremony Tuesday morning.
The county changed providers in May so area seniors can have free transportation to and from the center, something not provided by the past provider.
“We’re concerned about having the whole piece of the pie when it comes down to providing service for you,” said Liberty County Commission Chairman John McIver.
“They that depend on the bus have started coming back again,” Balaskiewicz said over lunch after the ribbon cutting.
The center is in full swing with 25 enrolled seniors and 21 on a waiting list.
From blueberry picking at Brewer’s Christmas Tree Farm to fishing and chair volleyball, the seniors have been staying active.
“We like to socialize with people, discuss world situations, the way it is, the way people are in the world today,” said senior center member Mac Aspinwall.
An adult day care also is available two days a week.
“It’s the only center like that in Georgia,” said SCI Executive Director Patti Lyons. “By having home-delivered meals, having adult daycare, senior companion program … it allows a community to have a much more comprehensive way to help people through various stages of getting older.”
“Our sole mission here today is to make sure that you are taken care of, make sure that you are heard and to make sure you enjoy yourself,” said Hinesville Mayor Jim Thomas.
Lyons says it takes a lot of resources to make the programs possible, but she said it speaks volumes about a community that is committed to serving its elderly residents.
“They want to provide everything so they can keep people in their community and that’s what’s key,” Lyons said.
It is key for Balaskiewicz, who, for the past 13 years, has been driving herself to the center.
The center even has a Nintendo Wii.
“Personally, I don’t do that much, but they do bowling and are in the crafts,” said Weida Ray.
She enjoys the meals and simply the company.
“When you come you know somebody is going to be nice to you and make you feel better,” Ray said.
“It’s like a big family,” Balaskiewicz said.
“Our mission is to help people age successfully and that means different things to different people,” Lyons said.
The center is open from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Monday-Friday. It is free for enrolled seniors, and people who are not enrolled can pay $5 to eat lunch and participate in activities.
 

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