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Senior center raises spirits during pandemic

MyRide TN Johnson County Transportation Coordinator Danae Watson holds up the bingo activity for day two of Johnson County Senior Center’s at-home bingo game. Each winner is entered into a drawing for a basket donated by Miller’s Flower shop. Submitted photo.

By Meg Dickens

The Johnson County Senior Center announced its temporary closure online on March 31 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Although the center closed its doors, staff and volunteers have been anything but idle. The senior center is making an effort to serve the senior community while observing safety precautions.

Seniors keep their spirits up by coming to the center. Now that is not an option, but seniors can still be involved with their peers. The center serves over 100 meals a day between pick-ups and deliveries. During this, volunteers dropped off bingo cards to help keep seniors active.

Seniors play this type of bingo from home and have different activities assigned per day. Each activity is announced via posts on the center’s Facebook page and features different familiar faces like Johnson County School Nutritionist Kathy McCulloch,County Mayor Mike Taylor, Center Bus Driver Terry Hodge, and MyRide transportation coordinator Danae Watson. Seniors can also find out by calling the center, asking while receiving a meal, or calling a friend. Each winner gets his or her name put in a drawing for a basket donated by Miller’s Flowers.

Seniors still have options. MyRide TN Johnson County is considered an essential service and is still providing non-emergency medical transport (NEMT) for seniors. For a limited time, volunteers will also offer grocery shopping and delivery services. Volunteers clean and sanitize vehicles between each passenger. For more information on MyRide, contact Danae at (423)423-6012.

All staff and volunteers are taking precautions to make sure everyone is protected when coming in contact. The center started giving out mask kits on April 1 and continue to do so on weekdays. Each kit has materials for four masks. There is a limit of one kit per family. Staff and volunteers wear masks and gloves, wash and sanitize hands, and follow social distancing guidelines along with all Center for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines during all interactions.

Find out more information on what the Johnson County Senior Center is doing and current resources by calling 423-727-8883.

Familiar faces from around Johnson County show activities for the Johnson County Senior Center’s at-home bingo. This helps seniors keep their spirits up and stay active during the COVID-19 pandemic shutdown. Submitted photos.