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Senior centers offer more than services for elderly

Sir Paul McCartney, at 72, packed Petco Park in San Diego last Saturday as part of his Out There Tour. According to the NBC 7 website, McCartney and his band played to the 42,000-strong sold-out crowd for three hours, exhibiting the energy and stamina of a man half his age.

Those in the area who have been fortunate enough to garner one of the coveted tickets are anxiously awaiting Oct. 11, when this senior rocker will take the stage.

Karen Davis Martinez gushed, “I wanted to see the Beatles as a child, so having tickets to see Paul McCartney in New Orleans is surreal!”

This original member of the Fab Four may be an exceptional senior, but preventive health care and proper nutrition have gone a long way in transforming today’s senior into a more healthy and active version than previous generations.

One reality has not changed: families need to be aware of opportunities for their aging loved ones to continue to enjoy a good quality of life. Physical, mental, spiritual and social activities encourage a positive attitude in everyone, no matter the age. And the Senior Center of Bogalusa is a wonderful asset to seniors and those who love them. The beautifully decorated and well-kept building at 603 Willis Ave. has a homey feel about it. The folks there welcome visitors with the social aptitude sometimes missing in modern culture.

Tommy Margiotta said, “I’ve been coming here 11 years. I was an auto mechanic for 40 years and was working on Mrs. Mildred Carr’s vehicle when she asked me to do something for her. She wanted me to visit the Senior Center. I was trying to make her happy, but God used her as an instrument to get me over here. The friends I have made over the years have been too many to count.”

According to Nancy McBeth, director of Washington Parish’s Senior Centers, “Each center has a different thrust depending on the needs and personalities of the clients we serve. Many of our seniors have lived a very social life and may find themselves spending more time alone. A lot of the guys, especially, like to come and hang out with others, just drinking coffee and talking about current affairs.”

McBeth added, “Around the holidays we have a lot of participation from the community. They come and sing and do all sorts of interesting activities that the clients here absolutely adore. It would really be wonderful if these activities could continue all year!”

McBeth’s wish list includes a volunteer to teach computer classes at the center. McBeth is obviously passionate about people.

“My staff are devoted and proud to help change people’s lives for the better,” she said.

Bogalusa’s Senior Center provides hot, nutritious lunches Monday through Friday for any senior over 60. Additionally, transportation is provided at no cost, not only to and from the Senior Center, but also to doctors appointments and such. Clarnetta Arrington, transportation director, may be reached at 985-732-6868 for more information.