Anderson County Senior Center Helps Many

Opal Phillips and Steve Carmichael

Opal Phillips and Steve Carmichael

Are you 60 years old or older?  Do you have family or friends that are 60 years old or older?  If so, check out the Anderson County Senior Center.  If you want a place to “hang out” with people in your age group, have a meal, play games, listen to discussions from experts, go on day trips, this is the place for you.  If you have trouble getting out, they will come and get you.  If you need meals at home, they can help you out.  Bottom line is, the senior center is a great place for those over 60.

The director of the center is Steve Carmichael.  But by Steve’s own admission, the heart and soul is Opal Phillips.  As Opal says, “I believe in the Center…these are my people.”  Her caring and enthusiasm are apparent to anyone talking with her.  “They seek to serve…we are people oriented,” Steve said.  It just happens that their clientele are seniors.

Opal Phillips is the volunteer coordinator and fundraiser.  She was born in Pulaski County and at 5 years of age, her family moved to Anderson County.  She has been here ever since.  She graduated from Anderson County High School in 1966.  She is married to her husband Howard, and they have two boys, Jaime and Darrin.  Also, they have four grandchildren.  She is a people person, being active in both her church and a variety of volunteer groups, including being a hospice volunteer.  As Opal says, she is a professional volunteer.

Steve Carmichael grew up in Lexington, graduating from Henry Clay in 1970.  He is married to Elizabeth, and they have three children, Seth, Zachary and Katy.  His main hobby when he has time is farming, with a variety of animals on the farm.  They are also a foster family for the Anderson Humane Society, specializing in cats.

The Senior Center is supported by tax dollars, from local, state and federal agencies.  Additional support comes from the United Way of the Bluegrass, local merchants, private donors and fundraisers.  This is where Opal is especially valuable.  For example, if a senior needs a lift chair and the center does not have one, she will make phone calls asking for help.  Her kindness as well as her passion comes through and before you know it, the funds for a lift chair are available.

This highlights one of the key features of the center.  One, money is used for what it is raised for.  If the fundraiser is for a lift chair, it will not be used to buy a couch. Also, equipment like walkers, canes, wheelchairs etc, are made available to those in need.  When the item is no longer needed, they are returned to the center so others can use them.  People can feel free to donate items like these to the center where they will be put to good use.

Much of the work at the center is done by volunteers.  They make cookies, brownies or bring snacks to the center.  Or, they take the time to play checkers, chess or do puzzles with some of the seniors.  Among the other activities to be enjoyed is entertainment with individuals and groups coming in to play music or singing.  But activities at the center are not the only way volunteers can help.

There are homebound seniors that are helped as well.  Meals are delivered to homebound seniors on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.  If the weather is bad, the Lawrenceburg Police Department helps deliver the lunches to make sure they get delivered.  Transportation can usually be arranged to get seniors to doctor and dentist appointments.  On Tuesdays and Thursdays, transportation can be provided to appointments ranging from doctors to beauty shops.  On other days, volunteers are used to help transport.

Lunches are served at the senior center on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.  Depending on the day, the menu may include hearty beef stew, chicken fettuccine, BBQ pork or many others.  The center will transport members to the center if they can’t drive.  Many times at lunch, there are speakers on a wide range of topics.  They may provide information on eating healthy, diet and exercise for seniors, as well as finances, or medical and dental information.

At other times many different activities are available or planned, including card games, exercise classes, tai chi, gardening clubs, etc.  The monthly newsletter has a complete list of all activities.  Also, they do day trips to restaurants and other points of interest in the central bluegrass area.  Seniors have been to plays, farmer’s markets, candy factories to name a few of the activities.

The senior center is a great resource for those over 60.  It is a place to have fun,  be entertained and be informed about issues common to seniors.  Give Opal a call at 502.839.7520 and see what they have to offer.  If you want to volunteer, whatever your age, give Opal a call.  And when you call, congratulate her on 50 years of marriage last Friday.

-Written by Don West

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Posted in Family & Community, Senior News.

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