Pumpkins galore at Senior Gatherings

Staff Writer

During Senior Gatherings at the Henry Clay, the attendees were getting into the Halloween spirit making decorative pumpkins that could be still used in November after the ghosts and goblins have gone away. The pumpkins were decorated using leaves, flowers and ribbons in fall colors.

"They have the option of putting a Jack o' Lantern face on one side," said Quintina Flake, community educator with Legacy Hospice. "They can turn it around in November for Thanksgiving. We love coming to the Henry Clay, the gatherings bring in a lot of people who aren't residents but enjoy the interaction.”

Dee Mathis, director of senior services at the Henry Clay, said it was a great project. She said no two looked alike and everyone enjoyed showing off their pumpkin creations.
"We had 18 people come and participate," Mathis said. "That's a good number. We try as much as we can to reverse the negativity that comes with day to day living. We try to do everything we can to promote fun and well being in our seniors."

Mathis said it is good for older people to be with others their own age, and have lots of things in common with. A large part of why Methodist Senior Services began encouraging Senior Gatherings was to promote friendships and camaraderie among senior citizens.
"We have six men today," Mathis said. "We'd love to have more. We explain the project, give them the supplies, and within a few minutes they are sitting back, with the project complete. The women are still deciding on what color ribbons and leaves. These people are so much fun."

Henry Clay resident Myrle Turman said she thoroughly enjoys Senior Gatherings and looks forward to getting together with friends each week.
"We have such great sponsors like Legacy Hospice who come up with these fun projects," Turman said. "I don't know what we would do without these people and their interesting ideas. We all love Dee Mathis, she is so wonderful and kind to everyone."

Turman has been a resident of the Henry Clay for four years. She said it is perfect living right in the middle of the downtown area.
"I can walk anywhere I need to go," Turman said. "I love to go to the library and visit with Becky Riley in the local history room. I enjoy genealogy and Becky knows more about it than anyone I know."

Mitzi Swindle, volunteer coordinator for Legacy Hospice, said they plan to do wreaths for doors as a project when they come back at the end of November.
"I love my job," Swindle said. "These are the best people here at Senior Gatherings at the Henry Clay. We enjoy coming here once a month to spend time with the residents. They always enjoy the craft projects we bring for them."

Swindol said Legacy Hospice is always looking for people who want to volunteer their time to work with the elderly or sit and visit with them.
"We service 12 counties," Flake said. "We speak at nursing homes, churches, civic groups, anywhere we're invited to educate the public about everything hospice does. We want to educate people before the need for us arises."