The Fauquier Senior Center
When seniors retire from working, sometimes they don’t know what to do with themselves. Especially if they can’t drive any longer, their world becomes very small and lonely. They lack mental and physical stimulation, as well as socialization. This is something the Fauquier Senior Center is designed to help. Overseen by the Rappahannock Rapidan Community Services, the program provides educational, physical, and social stimulation, recreation, nutritional information and a nutritious noon meal for their members. But, said Lola Walker, the Nutrition and Volunteer Services Supervisor for RRCS, the most important thing they offer seniors is the opportunity to have fun!
One member said, “I was a cafeteria worker in the public school system for my whole career. When I retired and couldn’t drive any more, I stayed home alone, staring at the four walls for two years until I started attending the Senior Center. It is such a blessing. I am much more active, healthier, and happier all the way around.”
There are two programs that the Center is required to offer: Nutrition Education and Healthy Steps, a gentle exercise program which can be performed either sitting or standing. But there is so much more that the Center offers. Seniors can enjoy socializing with their friends and playing board games. Other activities include things like playing Jeopardy, volleyball, kickball, bean bag toss, making crafts, and many others. The two favorite activities for members, by survey, are field trips and Bingo. “They really like Bingo,” said Lola. “The socialization is key; the members become like family,” she added.
Outside members of the community contribute to the success of the Center. Community members volunteer periodically, leading activities or calling Bingo. “We have a dedicated and enthusiastic staff, but others volunteering and visiting livens it up a bit,” said Lola.
Another important benefit that members gain when attending the senior center is having access to other RRCS agency services and a connection to local support networks. The Center can really act as a safety net and connect seniors with organizations that can assist them.
With a membership of 65 seniors, about 30 will attend on any given day, making the large community room buzz with activity. The program is held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Monday through Thursday every week at the Warrenton Community Center. Seniors must be over 60 years old and self sufficient (or bring a caregiver). Anyone in the county that meets these requirements is welcome to attend. The program is free, except for a requested donation for the noon meal, and free transportation is provided from anywhere in the county, pending availability. ”It’s easy to join; there is no waiting list, seniors attend as a guest for three days, fill out some minimal paperwork, and they’re in,” said Lola.