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Golden Friendship Center to begin soft reopening

Published: Sep. 30, 2020 at 5:18 PM CDT
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HASTINGS, Neb. (KSNB) - For seniors, public activities have been limited since the pandemic all began. The Hastings Golden Friendship Center is working to get their seniors back into the building in a safe way.

They have canceled their events and have been doing carry-out meals since March but starting Oct. 5 they will be allowing some exercise classes. Before the pandemic, dozens of people a day would come to the activity room to work out or attend one of the classes. Now people will be allowed back in only by appointment.

“It’s a hard decision either way. With numbers going up and down you never know what’s right. But with it getting cold, people aren’t going to be getting outside and getting exercise as often as they were this summer,” said Rachel Devlin, Adams County Site Manager for the Midland Area Agency on Aging.

Seniors will be able to book times in the center to use the activity room, walk laps in the gym, and take Tai Chi courses. The open gym will have limitations of around 10 people at a time and the activity center will be for people living in the same household only.

“It’s just so important to stay active. You’ve kind of seen people digress since they have been having to stay home. It’s hard to be motivated when you don’t have people around or somewhere to go. You kind of just end up sitting in your recliner a bit more,” Devlin said.

It may be a small start but Devlin said keeping active through the pandemic is important and they want to find a way to safely get their clients back together. Many are missing the daily lunch inside but that will have to be on hold.

“It’s easy to jump back in to trying to be back to normal but if you want to keep six foot distancing in the dining room and things like that and still keep the important factors in play, you can’t wear a mask when you’re eating and a lot of these people don’t live together so it’s bringing a bunch of different households and experiences,” Devlin said.

The meals will continue to be carried-out until further notice. The center serves about 60 at the building and delivers around 70 in the community daily.

The Golden Friendship Center is also collecting donations of puzzles, games, and other activities to give to seniors to keep entertained at home in the cold months. Boxes for donations outside the center can be found at the Hastings Public Library and The Village Diner.

Copyright 2020 KSNB. All rights reserved.

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