Seniors stay busy with activities |

Seniors stay busy with activities

Lorna McDaniel

Editor’s note: This is the final installment in a three-part series on the quality of life for Douglas County’s senior citizens.

Many seniors move to Nevada to retire, according to Bobbi Lazzarone, a post-retirement researcher from the University of Nevada, Reno.

So what are seniors doing in Douglas County to occupy their retirement time?

Many seniors find activities to get involved in, like Allen Bartshe who took up golfing at age 80 to keep up with his wife Dee, 77.

Allen, who recently played 18 holes of golf, said, “I still can’t shoot my age.”

Allen will turn 90 in March.

“If you can’t enjoy life then you don’t need to be old,” he said.

Some seniors find that with their extra time they can help others. Seniors make up a large majority of volunteers in the county.

Gerri Gable stays active through Retired and Senior Volunteer Program

Gable, is the one of the cheery faces that can be seen behind the information desk at the Minden Inn.

“I love it,” she said of her service to the county one afternoon a week.

She said she especially enjoyed helping the county with early voting full-time for two weeks.

Gerri Gable’s husband, Bob, is the chief of the Topaz Volunteer Fire Department

Many of Douglas County’s seniors like the Bartshes and the Gables stay active into their golden years.

The county’s senior centers play an important part in keeping seniors active. The Young at Heart, in Gardnerville and the Dresslerville Senior Center are just two of the centers available in the area.

n Young at Heart

Something is always happening at the Young at Heart Senior Center in Gardnerville.

Not only is the center crowded with seniors during the day for meals and activities afterward, the center is used as a meeting place for many senior-related organizations at night, according to Kathy Maidlow, senior services supervisor.

The American Legion, Carson Valley Chapter AARP and RSVP all meet at the center, located at 2300 Meadow Lane.

Cards and bingo are played Monday, Wednesday and Friday after lunch.

Bartshe visits the senior center about three times a week to play pinochle.

“I have a lot of fun down here,” he said.

Educational classes on income tax and legal issues are put on periodically.

Seniors shape up with resistance weight training classes Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 10:30 to 11:15 a.m.

The ceramics club meets 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. to work on projects. The center provides a kiln and participants buy materials.

Seniors can sell their hand-made goods at the gift shop, open 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Even weekends are busy for the senior center.

Western Nevada Community College offers an art class from 8:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. Saturdays.

Maidlow also organizes weekend or day trips for the seniors four times a month, and a Mexican cruise is scheduled for September.

The seniors help themselves through their fund-raising efforts which brought in $16,390 for the 96-97 fiscal year, Maidlow said.

County Manager Dan Holler said the county is not planning to expand senior services this year.

“It’s not a question of whether there is a need, but how to provide for them,” he said. “There are a lot of wish lists out there.”

n Dresslerville Senior Center

A visit to the Dresslerville Senior Center might be a cultural experience.

The center, located about two miles south of downtown Gardnerville at 919 Highway 395, has a large Washoe Tribe membership and is funded 50 percent by the tribe, said director Jacquelin Bauer.

Non-Indians also attend the center, she said

Like other senior centers, Dresslerville has a senior nutrition program, serving 40 Meals on Wheels and about 20 people in the dining room daily, she said.

The center sometimes serves traditional Indian dishes like deer, fresh-killed and donated by Washoe Tribe members, she added.

She said the seniors stay active with cards, bingo and movies.

The center shows movies on Indian issues and others, she said.

The seniors also get involved in cultural and traditional Indian activities. For example, two years ago, elder basketmakers Theresa Jackson and Jo Ann Martinez, were invited to a governor’s breakfast to ask a Washoe blessing for the work that the Legislature would do. The same women received the governor’s award for their craft from Arts Council.

Bauer said the center received a grant several years ago from the Save the Children Foundation to teach 13 pre-teens to weave.

Area artists were also invited to learn the craft.

She said she would like to see the elders do more teaching.

“I’d hate to see those arts die out,” she said.

Call 265-6426 for information.

n Senior organizations

The American Association of Retired Persons members work on the motto “to serve others” while having fun, according to Adele Guantonio, president.

They work on projects to help seniors, like the RUOK system, which calls live-alone seniors every day, and donations to the senior center, which helps to implement programs like Meals on Wheels, she said.

The group of 75 members is also involved in supporting the community through donations to the public library, she added.

The members gather for meals, trips and other social functions.

Author Ray Smith, who writes on Nevada topics, will be speaking to the group at 3 p.m. March 13 at the Gardnerville senior center.

A salad luncheon will be held at noon, April 3 in the CVIC Hall in Minden.

The group also takes overnight bus trips to gaming establishments and is planning similar trips for shopping, Guantonio said.

Call Guantonio at 265-3125 for information.

RSVP volunteers are active in many aspects of the community. They are matched with their area of interest, according to Bea Jones, area RSVP representative.

Jones, 87, who has been working with RSVP for 22 years, said she has two volunteers working at the schools but needs more.

She said many volunteers work at the senior center in Gardnerville. She has 27 serving senior nutrition meals, two working in ceramics, one in the office and three in the gift shop.

RSVP is for people 55 and older and members need not be retired.

Volunteers are reimbursed for their out-of-pocket expenses like mileage and meals.

Call Jones at 782-2027 for information.

n Active long-term care

Even when seniors start to slow down and need some help with their daily living, they still stay active.

Debi and Mary Allen Padgett, co-owners of Carson Valley Care Group in Johnson Lane, keep their seniors busy with various community groups and visits from animals.

Recently the group home has had presentations by a violin section, and a cheerleading group.

Mary Allen said she thought it was important for the seniors to not only mingle with the kids, but with animals as well.

The home has had both dogs and horses visit, she added.

It also has a public librarian come in once a week to provide the seniors with large-print books to help the seniors keep up on reading skills and communication, she said.

“We encourage (the seniors) to do as much on their own as possible,” she said. “They are doing things that they did before (they moved to the group home) just with a little help from us.”

For information call 267-5518.