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Mary Minor Carlson: 'Things are looking up. ... Stay tuned for a return of in-house lunches, live music and dancing.'

As we age, staying healthy and financially secure can be a challenge.

We fear the loss of independence, which often leads to depression and withdrawal from the outside world, isolating ourselves from friends and loved ones.

This letter is an attempt to share some of the benefits and opportunities that senior centers provide and to update the public on our own local center, the Scappoose Community and Senior Center.

Senior centers had their beginnings in the 1950s, and through their popularity and shared benefits, have grown to more than 15,000 centers nationwide, focusing on a variety of goals, depending on the needs of the community. Basically, they offer educational classes, support groups and volunteer opportunities. Some may offer transportation to and from medical appointments and grocery shopping. Medical equipment is available for those in need.

Research shows that those who participate in senior center activities can learn to manage the onset of chronic disease and gain improvements in their physical, emotional, social and economic well-being, all leading to better health outcomes and a more enriching life.

As with many long-term organizations, good times and struggle times can crop up from time to time. Over the past months, our local Scappoose Community and Senior Center has been moving through one of those rough patches.

Read the Aug. 20, 2021, report in the Spotlight on changes being made at the Scappoose Community and Senior Center after an audit by the Oregon Department of Justice.

After a lengthy closure, our center is currently staying afloat, thanks to the combined efforts of dedicated members and encouragement from the community. In addition, the Department of Justice has been working with the Scappoose Community and Senior Center to bring it into compliance with the State of Oregon and federal government requirements.

Things are looking up, and our local center will enjoy a full reopening just as soon as the Department of Justice gives its OK.

Meanwhile, the Scappoose Community and Senior Center is again adding classes and group meetings. The quilting ladies are busy, and bingo is in full swing. Stay tuned for a return of in-house lunches, live music and dancing.

Both existing members and others interested in the success of the center are encouraged to drop by and see what opportunities are offered.

More volunteers are urgently needed, especially drivers for Meals on Wheels. If you can share a skill, teach a class geared toward seniors or have other suggestions, please call the center at 503-543-2047. Better yet, stop by the center, located at 33342 S.W. Meadow Drive in Scappoose.

Mary Minor Carlson is a Scappoose resident.

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