Cathlamet seniors find connection on Puget Island

"Anyone who wants to join is more than welcome."

 

February 15, 2024

Patricia Atkins

Community members gathered at Our Saviour's Lutheran Church to make valentines.

Nancy Nelson has a big idea. After several years of pandemic isolation, she wants to help seniors in Cathlamet to connect with each other, find friendships and explore new activities. She started with a Facebook group, called Cathlamet Senior Friendship Group, which she has used to get the word out about her big idea. She approached a local church, Our Savior's Lutheran, and they agreed to allow group meetings in their activity room, which also includes use of the kitchen.

Over the last couple of months, group attendance has been low, but on Wednesday, Feb. 7, more than 25 seniors showed up to meet, chat and sign up for interest groups. The potential interest groups include photography, pottery, pickle ball, poker, quilting and sewing, potlucks, dining out, hiking, a wide variety of arts and crafts, and many more ideas.

"Anyone who wants to join us is more than welcome," said Nancy Martin. "It warms my heart to see so many people here today, but we have room for many more. I'd love to see more people join us."

The large group will continue to meet weekly, from noon to 3 p.m. on Wednesdays at the church on Puget Island. Interest groups may meet at mutually agreed upon times. For more information, please email cathlametseniors@gmail.com.

Cathlamet resident, Caroline Walton was at the session and provided a table full of craft supplies to make hand-made valentines for friends and loved ones. Some even made extras for the Area Agency on Aging & and Disabilities of Southwest Washington to send to some home-bound seniors in Wahkiakum and Cowlitz counties.

Patricia Atkins

Community members gathered at Our Saviour's Lutheran Church to make valentines.

As it turns out, Nancy is spot-on in her idea of forming social connections. The National Institute of Aging recently published research that shows the significant value of these connections.

While we all have an innate need for meaningful social engagement, it plays an even more vital role in older adults quality of life. Consistent social connection can help keep older adults physically, emotionally and mentally fit and leads to better long-term health outcomes.

As adults grow older, staying socially active does not happen on its own. Commitment, support, and diligence are required to foster meaningful connection. The seniors in Cathlamet intuitively know this and they are having fun, finding friends and staying healthy in the process.

Patcicia Atkins is communications coordinator for the Area Agency on Aging and Disabilities of Southwest Washington

 

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