Companionship is important at any age, and that’s why Wellness Wednesdays are so vital to the senior citizens of Craig.
The program offers a host of activities for elders each Wednesday, but perhaps the most critical element is the camaraderie.
Take Peggy Cisar, for example. She had open-heart surgery shortly after her husband passed away several years ago. When she got home from the hospital, she was all by herself and loneliness consumed her.
“I was literally sick from loneliness,” Peggy said, noting that she’d stay on the couch all day. She has three sons, but none of them live close enough to provide daily companionship.
She eventually found out about Wellness Wednesdays — a program offered through the Northwest Colorado Visiting Nurse Association — and started attending each week.
“I just sort of came to life again,” she said.
Peggy not only found new friends through the program, but she also found a new husband, Walt.
“It was the highlight of society when Peggy and Walt got married,” said Gale Severson, who regularly attends Wellness Wednesdays. “It was the senior wedding of a lifetime.”
Such stories are ones that warm my heart. I had a blast attending this week’s Wellness Wednesday, and everyone was so friendly.
The weekly program starts with a memoir writing class at Colorado Northwestern Community College, and after the class, seniors go to the Journey Baptist Church to engage in an advanced movement and exercise class taught by VNA fitness instructor Tammy Workman.
The exercise is important “for their everyday activity and to stay fit,” she said. “The socialization and staying active is very important.”
After the exercise program, they have lunch and listen to a guest speaker. This week, Kelly Knottingham spoke to the group about how to downsize and/or make safety improvements to your home as you age.
She outlined various tips such as discarding round doorknobs with knobs that have levers to make it easier to open doors as arthritis sets in. Knottingham also suggested putting extra rails in bathrooms to help with stability.
I was impressed with her kind demeanor. She obviously cares about our aging community, as do many of us.
It’s comforting to know that our loved elders have Wellness Wednesdays to look forward to each week.
“You get out of the house and you get with people,” said Nina Lawton, who lost her husband, Dean Lawton — a former Moffat County Sheriff — 37 years ago. “It gets you out of bed. You’re not alone all the time. It keeps your body in shape.”
Wellness Wednesdays also offers a Foot Care Clinic for $20 and a Senior Wellness Clinic where nurses from the VNA take time to visit and examine seniors.
After lunch and the guest speaker, everyone gathers to play cards.
It’s a phenomenal program for our senior citizens, and if you’re a senior citizen in Craig or Moffat County looking for movement and companionship, I highly recommend that you attend.
Noelle Leavitt Riley is the managing editor for the Craig Daily Press and the Saturday Morning Press. She and her husband, Shawn Riley, run the Forget Me Not foundation where they take donated flowers to the elderly to let them know they’re not forgotten by society. Her Forget Me Not column appears in the Saturday Morning Press every other week. Contact her at 970875-1790 or firstname.lastname@example.org.