Retiree Lula Williams, 78, was feeling depressed. Day after day, the senior whiled away her hours watching game shows on television or wistfully looking out the window.
I was bored and lonely, admits Williams. I needed something to occupy my time.
When a friend told her about the Peoples Coordinated Services Senior Multipurpose Center at 5133 Crenshaw Boulevard, Williams decided to pay it a visit.
Once inside the brightly lit center, Williams months of isolation were over.
I was surprised at the many activities they offered, said Williams, who said she was soon flipping cards at one of the many card games available. I also made a number of new friends, said Williams.
And Williams, who seldom cooked her own meals, was soon biting into one of the hot, nutritious daily lunches offered for the reasonable price of $1.25.
Willietta Franklin, who has been coming to the center for four years, added, I love the hot meals. Depending on the lunch, we are served enchiladas, broccoli, banana pudding, squash, and lettuce and cucumber salad, and you get a choice of a beverage like milk, apple, or grape juice.
PCSSMC program coordinator Wanda Boyd said that since many seniors dont prepare meals, the daily lunchtime meals are a big hit at the center. We serve between 80 and 90 seniors each day, said Boyd, who added that since many of the seniors suffer from health-related illnesses such as diabetes, low sodium meals and meals prepared without trans fats are popular.
For seniors who are homebound, the Meals on Wheels program delivers hot meals daily. The seniors must fill out an intake form and bring in a statement from their doctor to qualify, said Boyd, who said that the Meals on Wheels program services about 340 homebound people per month.
After seniors enjoy a tasty meal, the center offers an array of daily activities to keep them occupied. Seniors can shoot a game of pool, or enjoy a game of bid whist, dominoes, monopoly, checkers, or scrabble.
Other activities offered include a computer class, a knitting club, and a sewing class. A Braille class is offered for the blind. And for those who like to sing, seniors can harmonize during the PCSSMC choir rehearsal. The center is funded by the Los Angeles Department of Aging and is one of six sites that offer daily activities for seniors.
Dancing is also a popular activity for the elderly crowd, who are not shy about kicking up their heels on special occasions. On Valentines Day, seniors dresssed in bright red and got their groove on dancing to an R&B band.
Each month, the center celebrates seniors birthdays with cake and ice cream and a shower of birthday wishes.
For seniors who like a little adventure, the center offers day trips to various sightseeing destinations throughout Los Angeles County. The seniors have taken day trips to the Getty Museum, Descanso Gardens, the Ontario Mills Mall, and the Farmers Market in Long Beach, said Boyd. Sometimes they might go to Griffith Park because they like to ride on the trains. They also take trips to Indian casinos twice a month, she added.
Staying in good health is a priority at the center, where seniors are offered a variety of health-related activities. We have exercise classes on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, which are taught by one of our own seniors, Hayward Gray, said Boyd.
The Center also offers Wellness Club Health screenings for diabetes, cholesterol, high blood pressure, and other ailments, and there are health lectures provided by Partners in Care which are held the last Tuesday of the month.
For seniors who need help with light housekeeping, legal matters, heavy chore yardwork, or need a senior companion, the Emergency Response System, run by case manager Udemgda Igu, helps to fill those needs.
Franklin, a regular at the center, said she used to drive her mother to the facility. She loved coming here, recalls Franklin, who said that her mother, who was 93, recently passed away. When Franklin retired, she started coming to the center and fell in love with it as well. I love to play bingo, bid whist, and pool, Franklin said.
G. Love, who also has been attending the center for four years, said she enjoys participating in the sewing and computer classes. I love to play bid whist, dominoes, and shoot pool, said Love. They have everything I need here.
To contact the Peoples Coordinated Services Senior Multipurpose Center, call (323) 294-5226 or access their web site at www.pcs-socal.org.