By Kathleen Spring
Every week of the year, there is an opportunity for Lyons seniors to participate in free or inexpensive meals and activities, while conversing, sharing, and laughing with other local seniors in the charming Lyons Senior Center, located in the Walt Self Housing complex, next door to the post office.
The Center is bustling with activities each week. The Town of Lyons has two ongoing programs. Residents can sign up online at www.townofLyons.com/registration, or by calling (303) 823-8250.
At the beginning of each month is a free well-attended craft class, on Wednesday, from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. Participants come and go, with no
obligation to attend all classes. That also means that there is always a fresh opportunity to meet other craft lovers and start a new friendship. Call to check on the next date, and to register so sufficient supplies are available.
Crafters, under the direction of artist Trish Murtha, have painted couch pillows, made garden flags, and done watercolor winter landscapes.
The other activity that draws regulars is the free exercise class. There is no need to drive to other cities for group exercise classes to keep up your strength and stability. This is open to Lyons residents, ages 50 plus. You can be in any level of fitness to join. Sometimes they also take a walk along quiet streets, if the weather is pleasant. The exercises on Tuesdays are different than those on Thursdays. Sometimes ropes, weights, and chairs are used. Other times simple yoga is done. The class is taught by exercise professional Lori LeGault, and takes place at the Senior Center from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. Call to sign up the first time, and to check on the date. Severe weather or conflicting activities may cancel the class.
Some seniors only attend Town activities that take place via a bus to an exciting cultural venue. There is hardy conversation between culturally-minded seniors on the bus and during the brown-bag lunches. There are four trips each year, with two usually being to see a play at the Arvada Center for the Arts. The accredited professional actors and dynamic sets make it a pleasure. This past fall, the group went to see “Mama Mia,” which was a delight. The seniors carried the familiar songs into their hearts and ears for the bus trip home (including “Dancing Queen” and “Take a Chance on Me”). The Town offers deeply discounted rates of $12 for the seniors. Bus trips at other Front Range cities usually cost around $40 for the play and approximately $45 for the bus fare. Many Lyons attendees can no longer afford to indulge their life-long love of cultural events, and they are thankful for the generosity of the Town of Lyons. The next play will be a musical “Trav’lin; 1930s Harlem” in April.
In September, the group travelled 60 miles to the Wild Animal Sanctuary. It is a 789-acre large animal sanctuary, located near Keenesburg, Colorado. The sanctuary specializes in rescuing and caring for large predators, which were being ill-treated, or which their owners can no longer care for, or which might otherwise be euthanized. The raised walkway is now three miles long, so that visitors can see the felines, bears, and more in a nature habitat. Note, most of these places we visit have wheelchairs!
In December, the seniors went on a bus trip to see the “Best of Longmont Christmas Lights.” Some houses had several holiday vignettes set up in their front yard, like sets of bears or dolls, others broadcast music coordinated with the lights, and all had color-coordinated beacons of Christmas cheer!
The group was first treated to a multi-course Italian dinner at Caprese Trattoria, Longmont.
Just last month in February, a bus full of 22 Lyons seniors went to the Denver Museum of Art, and they saw the “Dior Fashion” traveling exhibit. Enough time was left over to hit all three floors of the museum before returning home at the end of the day. Some loved experiencing the decades of fashion, while others felt a bit overwhelmed by the outrageous Red Carpet fashions.
Seniors don’t have to leave town to be entertained. Local ukulele player and singer, Vance French, has sung songs at the Senior Center half-a-dozen times in the past three months. Old time favorites, like “You are my Sunshine,” are often sung along with by the seniors. In addition to solo performances, he has been joined by local favorites K. C. Groves and Birdi Smock, as well as the Lyons Community Church’s popular song and instrument group, lead by Jani and Zeke Little.
During the December holidays, the Heartsong children’s chorus sang some cheerful tunes. Also, Christmas carolers visited more than a dozen senior apartments in downtown Lyons. Many thanks to the cheerful singers! The year ended with a pot luck New Year’s Eve party, including a White Elephant Gift Exchange. Participates told tales of their favorite Christmas as a youth. One senior told of the day she got the horse she had longed dreamed of, and another recalled a red coat.
A new reliable big television means new social opportunities.
As director of Loving Lyons Senior Group (LLS), I was able to get a new 55 inch television in January through generous donations of locals. I arranged a Super Bowl party and an AARP Movies for Grownups Award party. My monthly Seniors Film Discussion Group has used it, and the movie subtitles can now be seen across the large room. A Sunday Movie Day is being instigated. And, a search is on for a few locals to do travelogues during the spring months. Contact me if you want to participate.
Seniors can enjoy quality catered food at the Wednesday and Friday lunches in the Senior Center Bistro. The successful senior lunch program will be entering its third year come April. LLS will be putting on a BINGO party, with prizes, to celebrate!
Note, the lunch time has changed to 12:00 p.m. The cost is $3, or what you can afford. Those people under 60 years of age, or guests, pay $8.25 flat rate. Reserve at (303) 441-1415 by 1p.m. the day before the lunch. The meals are provided by Boulder County Area Agency on Aging and grants. The Aging services contact is Teresa DeAnni, their dietitian Patty Murphy, and their local kitchen manager is Helen Vanderwerken. Sincere thanks to them and the volunteers for a very fine job!
Activities taking place during the lunch hour include a monthly free shoulder or neck massage. The Town sponsors a birthday party on the last Wednesday of each month. BCAAA aims to have a speaker each month on wellness, nutrition or Medicare. Pick up a copy of the menu during the lunch period for more information. This newspaper also periodically publishes the menu. Volunteers are always needed for occasional two-hour shifts.
There’s no need to belong to a group to participate in the Lyons Emergency Assistance Fund (LEAF) counseling assistance or food bank. Just come in to the Lyons Community Church at 4th and Main Streets between 3:30 p.m. and 5 p.m. on Wednesdays. The food bank has available canned and dry goods, as well as fresh vegetables, milk, and eggs, and frozen meat packages.
LEAF hosted the Holiday Giving Tree program again this past December, anonymously matching local residents with seniors, who got gifts or gift certificates to bring them good Holiday cheer. Seniors who applied for help also got bountiful food baskets. Many thanks to the volunteers and donors. The annual Christmas hams were again donated through Sam Tallent and Higher Ground Ministry. An extra big food drive was put on by the Lyons Elementary School classrooms. The Middle/Senior teens collected household goods. The Lyons Community Church and Catholic Church donated fresh oranges, apples, and potatoes. It was a hardy and heartfelt Holiday for the seniors!
The four local churches provide a free supper almost every Monday at 5:30 p.m., at the Senior Center. No reservation is needed. These suppers guarantee that every senior in town will receive a weekly hot supper. Many thanks are sent to the hard-working, kind-hearted volunteers who have done this for several years:
• River Community Church, every 1st Monday of each month.
• Lyons Community Church, every 3rd Monday of each month.
• Lyons Catholic Church, the 2nd Monday, of every other month (April 8)
• The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, note, this is the only supper on a Tuesday; quarterly: (April 23)
Additionally, Oskar Blues & Grill has been cooking a free senior-style lunch on the first Wednesday of each month, at 11:30 a.m., for more than a decade. There is no charge for the meal, but it is requested that you donate a tip for the waitress.
There is a pot luck supper at the Senior Center on the last Monday of each month, at 5:30 p.m., run by local seniors. It is open to all Lyons area seniors, 55 and older. Bring a dish to share that serves eight people.