Mature Adults

Published on Thu, Feb 26, 2004
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Mature Adults

Seniors: Various opportunities to get involved, learn

Whether you are interested in learning, lending a hand, or just having fun, there are various opportunities for seniors to get involved with the community through countywide organizations. From quilting and learning via the library to traveling and nutrition, a number of groups are established for the sole purpose of assisting, entertaining and teaching mature adults in the community.

Whatcom Weavers Guild
The guild is open to anyone in the county, not just mature adults; however, many of its members have been spinning for years. The primary focus of this group is to gather together once a month to spin (weave yarn) assorted clothing materials, such as blankets, scarfs and hats and share and learn information. The guild has 50 members from the county and meets the third Wednesday of each month at 7 p.m. at St. Paul�s Episcopal Church at 2117 Walnut Street in Bellingham.

Library comes to you
If you want to get to the library, but are unable to travel due to reasons of illness or advanced age, the Whatcom County library outreach services system can come to you. The system offers on site-library service to residents, including collection of books in regular and large print, audio books, compact discs, music cassettes, colorful picture books and magazines. The outreach service is provided free of charge. Anyone interested in setting up an appointment, should call the library at 384-3150.

Volunteer your time
Now that retirement is on your hands, you may not feel like �retiring.� Numerous volunteer opportunities can be found across the county to keep you busy and involved, specifically from the Whatcom Volunteer Center, an organization intent on �linking people of all ages who want to contribute their talent and time to directly assist agencies in meeting community needs.� The Center has access to information from about 350 organizations across the county. Anyone interested in volunteering can contact the center and state their interests, and center staff will work to partner up the volunteer with an organization. For example, if you�re a handyman and have an interest in home construction, the center will provide you with information about Habitat for Huamnity, a group that builds homes for people in need. The center has served as the �Heart and Hands� of the community for more than 30 years and recruits and refers volunteers to partner agencies and manages a database of nearly 3,000 volunteers� skills and interests.The Whatcom Volunteer Center can be reached at 734-3055 or online at www.whatcomvolunteer.org.

Out and About
Those in the community wishing to get aboard a bus and discover places across the region, can do so with the Whatcom County Senior Tour Program. The group meets the second Tuesday of each month at 9:30 a.m. at the Bellingham Senior Activity Center, and is inviting any outgoing individuals interested in travel to join. Future trips include cruises, visits to casinos and museums, baseball games and more. Anyone interested in signing up should call the Bellingham Senior Activity Center at 676-1450.

Independence and Health
As your body and mind matures, there are several groups that assist with the preservation of health, independence and dignity, including the Senior Information and Assistance program. The group provides a link between seniors and the services appropriate to their needs, including the availability of professional caseworkers. There is no charge for this service. Anyone interested should call 738-2500 or visit online at www.nwrcwa. org/ia.html.

In addition, the department of social and health services offers a wide range of services about caregiving and medical support, and information pertaining to care facilities and the suspected abuse of elderly in the community. Visit online at www.aasa. dshs.wa.gov/ Resources/default.htm for more.

Housing and Living
Those growing older in the community deserve to live an affordable, comfortable life. The Senior Housing Assistance Group, known as SHAG, is a non-profit organization dedicated to doing just that. The group provides affordable, independent, retirement communities for seniors and disabled seniors with self-help capabilities. Anyone in need of a new residence can contact the group and receive information about various living situations, including multi-bedroom affordable senior housing units. Call 738-8051 for more information.

County centers
There are eight senior centers offered through the Whatcom County Council on aging, the parks and recreation department. The centers are located in Bellingham, Deming, Ferndale, Sumas, Lynden, Blaine, Everson and Point Roberts and each has a full calendar of events for mature adults. In addition to a number of events the centers offer, there are also individual and group services offered for seniors 60 and over, including glaucoma screening, hearing tests, cholesterol testing and health education lectures. A nutrition program offers nutritious meals at centers, as well as delivered meals to those who are not able to prepare their own. Suggested donation for eligible consumers is $2.50 per meal. For more information, contact the Whatcom County Parks & Recreation Department at 398-1995 or e-mail seniors@ co.whatcom.wa.us.