Silver Linings: “Socialization is the most important thing”
AUBURN – Cynthia Larrabee likes to be busy and sociable, and in retirement, she’s found a place to do it: the Auburn Seniors Community Center.
Larrabee taught at Elm Street School in Mechanic Falls for 45 years. Now she spends her days crafting, watching movies, and dining with people she met at the center.
“It’s friendship,” she said Thursday after a card-making workshop. “I have met so many new people.
Busy people. His cohorts that day were other retirees, a former barber, an education technician, and a payroll clerk, who have worked hard for decades and want to keep that energy moving.
“Socialization is the most important thing,” Larrabee said. “You have to keep your mind and body busy. “
The center of Pettengill Park, a sprawling complex in the heart of the city, was renovated and expanded in November 2019, but the doors were closed in March 2020 due to the pandemic.
“We have gone from prosperity to survival by quickly moving facilities and personnel to our ‘take-out’ community food distribution program,” Recreation Department Manager Sabrina Best said in a recent press release. .
Larrabee and others prepared meals and packed them for distribution in the worst of the pandemic.
As the spread of the virus slowed, the center recently reopened with a full range of activities.
“Some small group programs resumed in May as per guidelines (from the Center for Disease Control), but the facility and staff are fully prepared to accommodate larger local senior groups and clubs this summer.” , said Best.
Activities cover a wide range of interests: indoors, outdoors, at home and away from home.
“We’re trying to make sure that everyone can enjoy something,” said Jamie Longley, recreation specialist for the Auburn Recreation Department and the city’s age-friendly coordinator.
A monthly calendar of events with a full list of summer programs, such as take-out craft kits, movies, lawn games, trips, chair yoga, and tech talks is available online at auburnmaine.gov.
In July, the city’s three senior groups – First Auburn Seniors, Robin Dow Seniors and New Auburn Seniors – will begin holding weekly or monthly meetings (and bingo!) At the center.
Anyone aged 50 and over is welcome no matter where they live, Longley said. Minimum contributions are paid once a year. For example, members of seniors’ groups each pay their group $ 5-10 a year, Longley said.
She said the Auburn Seniors Friends Community Committee, chaired by Councilor Leroy Walker, accepts donations for their meals and movies, and Auburn’s recreation department trips and programs have their own. minimal fees, depending on the program.
” There is something for every taste ! she said.
Sally Gagnon of Auburn, the retired education technician, agrees. She is another regular participant in the programs and was part of the card making group on Thursday.
“The most important thing is to come together and not be alone,” said Gagnon. “Not everyone is your best friend, but you know them.”
It’s also the place to be in the know, she said. “You will know here when there is a new doctor or dentist in town or where to have a specific procedure. It is the information center.
The center is all the more dear to her since she is a widow.
“It’s fabulous,” she said.