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Russell Bahr uses the new handicap-accessible door opener at the Senior Activity Center.

Prime Time | Diane Engel: Senior Activity Center gets handicap-accessible entry

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Prime Time | Diane Engel: Senior Activity Center gets handicap-accessible entry
Bemidji Minnesota P.O. Box 455 56619

The Senior Activity Center has installed handicap accessible door openers on the front doors.

This has been made possible because of a George W. Neilson Foundation grant. The grant also paid for the installation of a double-pane window in the front door, a heater in the entryway and energy-efficient lights. The Senior Center appreciates the kindness of the George W. Neilson Foundation helping us become more accessible and energy-efficient.

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Last year the Senior Center had an evaluation done through the Northwest Minnesota Foundation to find out where we could improve. One of the recommendations in the evaluation report was to choose a name that best suites us. Recently, after careful consideration and exploration, the Senior Center Board has made the decision to change the name from Paul Bunyan Senior Activity Center to the Senior Activity Center. They wanted the name to reflect that we have activities for seniors and those who are about to become seniors. We are also a place to find information and presentations on issues that seniors face. This name describes who we are and what we have to offer.

Any age welcome

Many people ask me if they are “old enough to join the Center.”  I always reply that you can join at any age. Some have the misconception that people who come to the Center don’t do much more than sit. Nothing could be farther from the truth. The patrons of the Center are very active on a daily basis. Some volunteer for different events or setting up lunch. Some play cards or come in for coffee, lunch, or to shop in the Gift Shop. Some are moving to the beat of the music as they are doing exercises that help them stay active. Some come in for a presentation that may help them to live a more healthy life or to be aware of an issue that would affect them. Most come in to find socialization and the support they need, especially if they face a challenge in life, such as an illness, when a spouse passes away or any other challenge life can dish out. Whatever the reason they come in, it all boils down to the support, unity and bond they all have in common to help one another and themselves live the best lives possible.

Gift-wrapping gratitude

Thank you to everyone who had their gifts wrapped at the Paul Bunyan Mall this Christmas. We appreciate your donations. Thank you to the Paul Bunyan Mall for allowing us to set up our gift wrap services and assisting us throughout. Thank you also to our dedicated volunteers, including those from Thrifty White, who braved the weather to offer their time and beautiful gift wrapping talents. Thank you to Sentence to Serve for helping us transport our supplies to and from the mall. Thank you to Arrow Printing for designing and printing our beautiful, heartwarming posters that were set up at the mall.

Stop in and see what we have to offer. There are activities, lunch, Senior Creations Gift Shop, bus trips, tax assistance starting in late January, driver safety classes, and, of course, we always have the coffee on.

DIANE ENGEL is executive director of the Senior Activity Center, formerly known as Paul Bunyan Senior Activity Center

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