Joan Pouewells retired four years ago, but visit the Painesville Area Senior Center on a Thursday and you’ll find that she hasn’t lost a step.
That’s when she and her friends can be found line dancing to Pharrell’s “Happy” or “Shut Up and Dance” by Walk the Moon and loving every second of it.
“The exercise is great and socializing is great,” the Painesville resident said. “If you sit around at home, you’re just going to start looking at the walls. I’ve always been active, and it’s helped me physically and mentally.”
Health is among the key building blocks to a better community and life, and that especially holds true for senior citizens in Lake County. With the help of United Way of Lake County and its donors, senior centers across Lake County play an integral role in escalating seniors’ activity level as their age increases.
“Most of the seniors that come in do it because they’re still active, but maybe they need transportation because of sight or physical limitations or monetary limitations,” said Carol Billetter, director of the Madison Senior Center.
Madison and Painesville are two of nine senior centers that will receive United Way funding this fiscal year. In all, United Way will allocate nearly $160,000 to senior centers and programs that help our aging population socialize, exercise and continue living their lives to the fullest extent.
United Way funds also helps the Lake County Council on Aging provide congregate meals across the county – a program that provided a meal per day to 626 Lake County seniors throughout 2014. Though Madison’s United Way funds support the transportation of seniors to the Center, that mobilization helps fight food insecurity in the Madison area, Billetter said.
“For a couple who come in, lunch is their biggest meal of the day,” Billettter said. “Us being able to provide that transportation is a huge piece of mind to them to get that meal for the day. It’s invaluable to us if they have that [United Way funding] to use it for senior transportation. Otherwise they wouldn’t have that opportunity to socialize with their friends like they do.”
Lake County’s 60-and-over population will have increased by a whopping 72.3 percent by 2020, when compared to figures back in 2000, according to the Council. Currently, 15 percent of that population lives at a low or moderate income level.
United Way of Lake County needs your help to change lives and fight these staggering figures. This year, your dollars will help United Way of Lake County fund the following agencies and programs benefitting senior citizens:
· Council on Aging (Congregate Meals)
· Eastlake Senior Center (Senior Program)
· Fairport Senior Center (Extended Hours)
· Kirtland Senior Center (Senior Program)
· Madison Senior Center (Transportation Program)
· Mentor Senior Center (Senior Program)
· Painesville Senior Center (Senior Program)
· Perry Senior Center (Senior Exercise; Senior Memory Class)
· Salvation Army Citadel (Social Adult)
· Wickliffe Senior Center (Senior Program)
· Willowick Senior Center (Senior Program)
If you’d like support these programs, contact Jean Sency at 440-639-1286, visit www.uwlc.org/give or text “LAKE” to 414-44.