The Senior Connection serves the community
It’s easy to overlook The Senior Connection, but that doesn’t mean that we should.
Most of us barely notice their building on 3rd Avenue in Hailey, but the impact the non-profit is having across our community is expansive, important and well worth our attention and support.
Founded in 1971, most of us think of The Senior Connection as basically a daycare for the elderly. That is, however, far from the truth. The Senior Connection helps countless members of our community make the last chapters of their lives much more healthy and enjoyable.
“We do so much here that most people don’t know about,” said Ramona Duke, the Community Relations Manager for The Senior Connection. “They may know that we serve lunch, but they don’t know, for example, that 50% of what we do doesn’t even happen here in the building.”
The services The Senior Connection offers outside of their building starts with their Meals on Wheels program. Each week, volunteer drivers deliver up to a week’s worth of meals to over 30 people a day all over Blaine County. They also provide transportation to seniors who need safe, reliable rides to places like the doctor’s office or the weekly games of Bingo or to simply get their hair done at a local salon. The Caregiving Division also assists with a variety of in-home needs, helping with everything from bathing and dressing to making sure medications and meals are being taken properly.
While these efforts are extremely important, what happens inside the building across from Roberta McKercher Park is nothing shy of magical.
Each weekday from 11:30- 1pm, The Senior Connection serves lunch for around 100 people. Open to the public, the lunches aren’t just tasty and healthy meals cooked up by talented longtime local Chef, Brian Ahern. They are joyful social occasions steeped in local history.
When you sit down to eat you’ll get to enjoy the company of wide variety of folks. You may see Hailey Mayor, Martha Burke, or the familiar smiling face of Betty Grant or even 99 year-old Tommy Farr, who helped found The Senior Connection long before he needed its services.
“One of the challenges of aging is that we often outlive our spouses, friends and family and it can be lonely,” Ramona explained. “That’s why what happens here during lunch and our other services is so important. They allow people to be social again and that is so essential for health and happiness.”
In addition to the lunches, The Senior Connection offers programs like a Fitness Center that includes Fit and Fall-Proof classes, an Alzheimer’s & Dementia Day Care, lectures on subjects like avoiding financial scams, and a Caregiver Support Group.
“What happens in here is so magical,” Ramona said. “I love working here. This is the best job I have ever had.”
The Senior Connection’s newly remodeling dining room is open for lunch each week-day and all are welcome. For more information, go to seniorconnectionidaho.org or call 208-788-3468.
By Mike McKenna
This story originally appeared in the Chamber Corner for the Wood River Weekly.