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Activities for area senior citizens reflect their busy lifestyles

| Wednesday, Sept. 25, 2013, 9:01 p.m.
Randy Jarosz | For The Signal Item
Hannah Bartus sings while her brother Mark Burtus plays the keyboards during a senior citizen dinner Saturday, Sept. 22, 2013 at Crafton Community Center.

Pulled pork and roasted potatoes were on the menu Saturday night, with coffee, cake and pie for dessert.

There was live entertainment, with music and dancing. The crowd loved it.

Caroline Trevino loved it.

“It was delicious,” Trevino said. “The food was good. The music was good.”

Trevino, 80, is just one of about 60 senior citizens who attend a monthly senior dinner at the Crafton Community Center.

“It's just a social outlet that they participate in,” said recreation board member Pam Palchowski. “There's entertainment, and the seniors will come and dance, and it's just a sense of belonging.”

She said the socialization and sense of community are something the seniors look forward to.

Trevino does.

“I very seldom ever miss one,” the Crafton Towers resident said.

Activities and outings for area seniors are numerous across the western suburbs.

In Heidelberg this month, seniors met for breakfast at the First Watch Restaurant before heading to an afternoon showing of “The Butler.” In Collier, the parks and recreation board has created a senior pickleball league, and there is a monthly luncheon and movie showing. In Green Tree, there is a monthly dinner.

Kim Rollinson, community services operations director for Lifespan, which oversees the Chartiers Senior Center, said there is a demand for it in the area.

“The seniors that we see are relatively active,” she said. “The more that we can plan, the better.”

Events at the Chartiers Senior Center include Wii Bowling, bridge clubs, fitness classes and poker tournaments. There are informational sessions with speakers on subjects such as Medicare fraud, and there are yearly trips to Atlantic City.

“It keeps them feeling young and it keeps them feeling involved,” Rollinson said. “They're very curious and active in wanting to be educated. They seem to be more interested in keeping themselves well and being able to do activities.”

Palchowski said the structure of the event — the same weekend every month — lends itself to a balanced lifestyle.

“In order to maintain stability in your mental health, you need to have fun every single day,” she said. “You need to change up your activities, and you need to have structure in your activities. They love it. We love it. It's just a lot of fun.”

Trevino says it's the camaraderie that keeps her coming back to Crafton's monthly senior dinners.

“It's the people. It's just the people,” she said. “I got to know a majority of them, and the people that work there are so wonderful. It's just a good place to go.”

Megan Guza is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-388-5810 or

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