Easton seniors celebrate center reopenings

Written by on August 2, 2021

Easton seniors celebrate center reopenings

By Hayden Mitman
August 2, 2021

EASTON, Pa. – Even behind masks, it’s easy to tell there were smiles on the faces of those gathered at Forks Township’s Park Plaza Senior Community Center

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“It’s nice to be around people again. I consider this a home away from home,” Chuck Mitchell said. 

Mitchell, 70, isn’t the only one to feel this way. Senior centers throughout Northampton County re-opened this month. And, Inez Dinkins, 74, said having a place to go for activities and socialization is something seniors have waited for over the past 14 months. 

“I had to stay in the house all the time. Didn’t go nowhere. Just walked through the house. And, it was very lonely. Nothing to do. Thank God for the center being open,” she said.  

Joan Schaffer, director of the center, says isolation can have a detrimental effect on mental and physical health. 

Richard Couch, 88 and, seventy-four-year-old Inez Dinkins, friends spending time together after 14-months apart. Photo | Hayden Mitman / WLVR

She said simply being together allows seniors to discuss health issues with staff or friends – issues that might go unnoticed in isolation.   

“Without socialization, they can’t stay home as long. They end up going to a nursing home or something sooner,” she said. “So, this helps. And, if you have something to stimulate you, physically you’re better too.” 

Being alone was difficult for 75-year-old Mary Engdahl.

During the pandemic, she rarely got to see her 70 grandkids and great-grandkids.

“I can’t sit and look at four walls with nobody to talk to,” she said.

The reopened center follows strict protocols. Masks must be worn and anyone who enters must answer a questionnaire and have their temperature taken. 

The vast majority of those over 65 in Northampton County have been vaccinated. 

Not all activities can return until COVID-19 restrictions are lifted. 

But they can play bingo. 

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