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Belmont's older residents encouraged to check out senior center



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Senior Center Advisory Council Chairman Brian Watterson chats with Joanne Ricard and Arleine Smith during the Belmont Senior Centerís open house last Wednesday. Meghan Siegler. (click for larger version)
September 29, 2010
BELMONT — For seniors looking for good food, leisurely activities or just some camaraderie, the Belmont Senior Center offers all that and then some.

The center held an open house last Wednesday to promote its services and to celebrate seniors in the community. Director Brenda Fortier emphasized that all seniors, regardless of income or age or ability, are welcome to come for any of the center's meals or activities.

"This is for everyone," she said. "It's for all seniors."

Lunch is served Monday, Wednesday and Thursday at noon, and breakfast is served Friday at 10 a.m. On average, 15 people attend the meals, and it's not the same people every day, Fortier said. If they are able, seniors are encouraged to make a donation for their meals.

Some of Belmont Senior Center's funding comes from federal and state services, and Belmont's is one of the eight senior centers supported by the Community Action Program. The funding allows the center to provide activities like Bone Builders, a free strength-training program, and painting classes.

"The painting program is wonderful," Fortier said. "It's probably one of the best things we've ever done here."

Some of the seniors have become so good at painting that they sell their work or give them to friends and family as gifts. One woman is turning a painting into her Christmas cards this year.

"It's an inspiration watching them paint," Fortier said.

The painting classes are held each Monday, and seniors ages 60 and older can come to any session for free. Fortier said she "wouldn't say no" if someone younger wanted to take a class or two as well.

Other wellness activities include playing the Wii, which Fortier said helps build hand/eye coordination. The Belmont Senior Center recently had a Wii bowling tournament with the Suncook Senior Center.

"It's a good thing," Fortier said of playing the active video games. "It brings you into the technological age."

The seniors also play some more old-fashioned games, such as Scrabble or cards.

The Diners Club takes the center's relatively new bus once a month to a restaurant. They recently went to Olive Garden and Johnson's Dairy Bar.

Fran Anderson has been attending the senior center since before it moved to the Belmont Mill building; it used to be in the church.

"It's wonderful," Anderson said. "I'm newly widowed, and eating alone is just terrible. The camaraderie here is great."

The Belmont Senior Center is open from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday. Tuesday is the only day that no meal is served.

"We've got a lot going on," Fortier said. "There's something for everyone."

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