Top five programs, activities for seniors

MARSHALL — On Aug. 19, 1988, President Ronald Reagan signed a proclamation declaring Aug. 21 as National Senior Citizen Day. In observance of this special day, here are top five activities and programs for senior citizens.

1. GOLD (Growth Opportunity Learning Development) College program.

GOLD College offers educational, lifelong courses for senior citizens around southwest Minnesota. The courses help senior citizens stay active, social and informed to improve their overall health. An average class size is approximately 20-30 individuals ranging from late 50s up to 90 years old. There are no grades, no tests and no attendance taken.

GOLD College is one of the highlights in the area that draw senior citizens together. Thursday, the GOLD College program and Marshall Senior Dining joined forces on an event that included a class, meal and dancing to the Wendinger Band of New Ulm.

The event that drew about 80 seniors from the surrounding area was held at the Red Baron Expo Center on the main hockey floor. The event was called Sounds of Summer: Back to the Blue Moon. It was the first ever of its kind. The turnout was so good, organizers at GOLD College are planning to do it again next year.

Dr. John Gochenouer gave the current events class on “Why can’t we all get along?” Attendees said that Gochenouer is a very good speaker and that he has been one of their favorite class instructors through GOLD College out of Southwest Minnesota State University.

Repeat GOLD College student Dennis Stelter of Wood Lake said the class discussed the differences from older eras to the present time, including television shows.

“In the 1950s, television was fun with happy endings,” he said. “Now, TV shows are contentious with intense conflict.”

Stelter has enjoyed several GOLD College classes over the years.

GOLD College kicks off for the fall on Wednesday, Sept. 13. For more information call 507-537-7164.

In testimony of how engaging GOLD classes are, there is a group of four dedicate senior students that drive together from Redwood Falls for spring and fall classes. Pamela Ebbesen, Millie Koval, Phyllis Prodoehl and Joyce McKay were all in attendance Thursday to hear their favorite professor talk.

They stayed for the build-your-own-burger lunch and to listen to the Wendinger Band of New Ulm play such popular numbers as the “Chicago Waltz” and the “Blue Skirt Waltz.”

“I come for socialization,” Ebbesen, a former social worker, said. “I also like the educational aspect.”

This event gave ample opportunity for visiting with other seniors and those who were interested in the class topic, just as other area senior citizens centers and senior dining sites do.

2. Senior dining centers

Senior dining centers in the area often offer senior dining to provide one nutritionally-balanced meal Monday through Friday. These centers also offer activities for seniors such as a Bone Builders exercise class, card playing, working puzzles, sometimes needle work and sometimes speakers on topics such as the Senior Linkage Line that can help seniors with questions and applications for Medicare or other health-related topics.

Senior centers in the area include the following:

• Marshall Adult Community Center and Meal Site on 107 S. 4th St., Marshall, phone: 507-537-6109

• Cottonwood Senior Citizens Center at 40 W. 1st St. N., Cottonwood, phone: 507-423-6415

• Echo Senior Dining at Echo Community Center, 342 2nd Ave., phone: 507-925-4190

• Hanley Falls Senior Dining at Hanley Falls Legion at 109 N. 1st St., phone: 507-768-3524

• Hendricks Senior Center at 204 N. Main St., Hendricks, phone: 507-275-3843

• Minneota Senior Citizens Center at 202 N. Jefferson Street, Minneota, phone: 507-872-5262

• Porter Senior Center at 105 N. Brook Ave., phone: 507-296-4502

• Slayton Senior Center and Dining at 2451 Broadway, Slayton, phone: 507-836-6762

• Tracy Multipurpose Center at 200 3rd S., Tracy, phone: 507-629-5547

Senior Dining locations prefer a call at least 24 hours in advance for a head count. Most of them have discounted meal prices for senior citizens.

3. Entertainment:

Other activities in the area that can be entertaining for senior citizens include:

• The Marshall-Lyon County Library, which is a member of the Plum Creek Library System. If it does not have a book, video/DVD or CD you are looking for, it can probably find it at one of its sister libraries. The library also hosts programs and concerts for the community.

• The Lyon County Museum provides a provocative display of period rooms rich in history of the area. Additionally, there is usually a traveling exhibit on display on their second floor.

• Many surrounding towns also have museums such as the End-O-Line Railroad Museum in Tracy, the Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum in Walnut Grove and many historical homes in area towns are open to the public. There are also county museums in other county seats.

• SMSU offers theater productions and music concerts in addition to GOLD College and poetry readings. The college and Marshall High School also have many sports events to take in throughout the school year, including hosting dance recitals for the area dance studios.

4. Service/assistance organizations

The United Community Action Partnership offers services and programs beneficial to senior citizens in meeting their basic needs in education, employment training, transportation, weatherization, energy efficiency, asset building, financial literacy, services for home-bound seniors and people with disabilities. United Community Action Partnership can be reached at 507-537-1416.

5. Health services for seniors

Blood pressure checks are offered at the Adult Community Center at 107 S 4th St., Marshall on Tuesdays from 10 a.m.-noon. There are also health screenings and flu shots available at this time, all provided by home health nurses. More information can be obtained by calling 507-537-6109.