Seniors thrive with network offering hot meal, fellowship

Judy Merck of Dover-Foxcroft, right, leads senior citizens through an exercise routine Thursday at the start of Senior Network in Dover-Foxcroft.  Facing Merck is Barbara Mitchell, 90,  of Dover-Foxcroft, who has been attending the twice weekly Senior Network since it was first offered more than two years ago. BANGOR DAILY NEWS PHOTO BY DIANA BOWLEY
BDN
Judy Merck of Dover-Foxcroft, right, leads senior citizens through an exercise routine Thursday at the start of Senior Network in Dover-Foxcroft. Facing Merck is Barbara Mitchell, 90, of Dover-Foxcroft, who has been attending the twice weekly Senior Network since it was first offered more than two years ago. BANGOR DAILY NEWS PHOTO BY DIANA BOWLEY
Posted March 21, 2010, at 9:01 p.m.
Last modified Jan. 30, 2011, at 12:03 p.m.

DOVER-FOXCROFT, Maine — Although Dyann Chase of Sangerville and Dotty Hadler of Dover-Foxcroft live in the same area, they had never met until they attended Senior Network, an event that brings senior citizens together.

Today, they are good friends who share their concerns and jokes during the twice-weekly event held at the Morton Avenue Municipal Building in Dover-Foxcroft.

“Years ago we had the post office and general store where we could go and gossip, but things have changed, and this is our substitute,” Chase said Thursday. “It’s hard to meet people, and this has been the greatest way to meet people. We have a lot of fun.”

More than 20 senior citizens from the Dover-Foxcroft region have found Senior Network a place to share a hot meal, learn about new services and opportunities, improve their health and simply enjoy the company of others.

Senior Network was hatched about three years ago by Community First, a group of people who wanted to help the community by volunteering their services, according to Judy Merck of Dover-Foxcroft.

“Dover-Foxcroft is a great place to live, and this allows them [senior citizens] to get to know each other and maybe get some ideas of how they can contribute,” Merck said Friday. While it’s geared toward seniors, Merck said she would love to see younger people attend as well.

During the winter months, participants get to eat a hot meal provided by Meals on Wheels on Monday. Reservations are required for these meals. On Thursday, participants bring a potluck dish to share with others, although several organizations in the community treated seniors one recent day. The GFWC Miosac Club provided a luncheon of soups, breads and desserts for the seniors.

The meetings typically start with some stretching exercises under Merck’s direction followed by a meal and either entertainment, guest speakers or games. Speakers have included those in the medical and educational fields and government agencies that help seniors.

“I enjoy getting out and this gives you something to look forward to … we just have a nice time chatting,” Harriett Moen of Dover-Foxcroft said Thursday. Her comments were echoed by Alberta Nutting of Dover-Foxcroft. She said, “It gets me out to mingle and to talk with other women.”

For the organizers of Community First, those new associations are making a difference in the community.

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