Center fills many needs for seniors

Nearly a decade ago, local stamp collectors got together to form a club that exists to this day with a dozen or so active members who exchange duplicate material and lame jokes. We meet at the Senior Center of Boulder City at 8:30 a.m. on the second Wednesday of each month.

It is better than free, with some of the cheapest stamps money could buy. Or, we often give free advice about how to dispose of a collection that might lurk in someone’s back closet. If you or someone you know collects stamps, you really do want to look into the Southern State Senior Center Stamp Club. Just come to the next meeting, or contact me through the Boulder City Review.

That experience was my first exposure to our senior center. I was still in my 60s, and why would I want to hang out with a bunch of old people? I soon learned that they put on a very nice four-course lunch every weekday just before noon for $2 and started taking advantage of that on regular occasions.

Gradually, I came to appreciate the many things the senior center has to offer, with the lively quarters full of people playing poker, euchre or pool, others using the computers or assembling jigsaw puzzles. There can be live music before lunch or karaoke after.

Last year, when I was drafted to produce a program about researching one’s family tree, 33 members signed up and we lured outside professional help for the presentation.

I had the opportunity to speak with Executive Director Victoria Mason about the history of this popular fixture of our town. As early as the 1970s, the city government established a senior center that was run by the Parks and Recreation Department. In June 1983, having decided it was too costly to maintain solely with city funds, they asked a few local leaders to establish a 501 (c) (3) to take over the program.

They continue to receive city support but also get state grants from the Department of Health and Human Services.

Meals on Wheels, one of its most valuable outreach programs, brings hot meals to homebound residents. It was started in 2010 and serves five routes with 15 people each. My wife, Amy Garcia, is one of the route volunteers who take meals to residents, and I had the opportunity to shotgun along to see the appreciative faces of these eager eaters.

Emily Clark runs a program with Kindle readers that are loaned out to members. They also have a table with books sold at pennies on the dollar.

Every Wednesday at 9 a.m. they have a computer instructor on hand to show members how to use the computers. We agreed that too many older folks resist the internet, thinking it is too hard to learn and too expensive. Well, they can use these free computers, which are seldom all busy, and it takes only a little instruction to have you looking at photos of your grandkids playing at the zoo on Facebook or exchanging email with your out-of-state kids. Don’t say bah-humbug. You can do it.

The senior center is at 813 Arizona St.

Dave Nelson retired to Boulder City in 2003 after a career with the FICO score company. He is vice president and newsletter editor for the local Sons of Norway.