Sunday Seniors: Aging Resource Center Opens Office at Upper Valley Senior Center

  • Eunie Guyer, of Lebanon, left, works her way through a crowd gathered to mark the opening of an extension of the D-H Aging Resource Center at the Upper Valley Senior Center in Lebanon, N.H., Monday, Oct. 16, 2017. Guyer, who works on the senior center's wait staff, led the effort to clean out a former craft room to make space for the Aging Resource Center. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Jodi Austin, of Hanover, a volunteer with the Aging Resource Center, right, hugs Jenny Littlewood, of Orford, a member of the Grafton County Senior Citizens Council, as they part ways following an open house at the Upper Valley Senior Center in Lebanon, N.H., Monday, Oct. 16, 2017. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

Valley News Calendar Editor
Sunday, October 22, 2017

Lebanon — Previously, when Vicki Haas wanted to attend a program at the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Aging Resource Center in Lebanon, she had to take two buses and one shuttle to get there.

But with the opening of the Aging Resource Center Annex at The Upper Valley Senior Center, located in the Upper Valley Senior Center in Lebanon, Haas now needs just takes one bus ride to access the multitude of programs the nonprofit organization has to offer.

“Now that it’s here, it’s so much more convenient,” she said.

Convenience was one of the motivations behind developing a permanent location at the Upper Valley Senior Center. Housed in what used to be the senior center’s gift shop, the downtown Lebanon location makes it easier for some seniors to access. While the space opened last summer with a series of pilot programs, an open house was held last Monday to mark the official opening.

“It’s a great marriage,” said Jill Vahey, the senior center’s executive director. “To have the aging center here, so available, it’s really connected the community.”

Jeanne Childs, chaplain at the aging center, is hosting a support group titled “Is What You’re Thinking Making You Sick?” which filled up as soon as it was posted. “This will probably become a staple here,” she said.

Other programs also have proven popular. All programs are free, open to the public and many require advanced registration; participants do not need to live in Lebanon or be a patient at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center to attend.

“The yoga was very well attended,” Vahey said.

The official partnership has been in the works for some time.

“This is just a win-win for all of us in the community,” said Roberta Berner, executive director of the Grafton County Senior Citizens Council, in remarks to the dozens of people who gathered at the event, including senior center patrons, Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center employees and state lawmakers.

Dr. Stephen Bartels, director of Dartmouth’s Centers for Health and Aging, spoke about wellness in his keynote address, titled “Increasing Our ‘Wellness Span’ and A New Aging Resource Center Program Partnership.” But before he got to the meat of his speech, he channeled his happiness for the new program.

“I’m so excited this has finally happened,” he said, adding that the Aging Resource Center’s 10-year anniversary was approaching. “We’re thrilled to have a little bit of a presence every day.”

Bartels’ talk focused on the importance of improving quality of life, not necessarily longevity.

“I think most of us want to live better, not longer,” he said, adding that it’s important to look at adding life to years, not years to life. “What we know is that lifestyle makes a huge difference.”

Part of that includes developing relationships — like the kind the Upper Valley Senior Center and Aging Resource Center aim to establish.

“Everyone is very supportive,” Haas said of the senior center. “It’s a very supportive environment.”

With the new partnership between the two organizations, that environment and community can only get stronger.

Upcoming Programs

Here are some programs coming up at the Aging Resource Center Annex:

“Stories and Conversations” (Nov. 3, 10-11 a.m.).

“Advance Care Planning,” one-on-one appointments (Nov. 6 and Dec. 4, 11 a.m.-noon).

“Introduction to Mindfulness” (Nov. 20, 9:30-11:30 a.m.).

Editor’s note: For more information about the Aging Resource Center, visit http://www.dartmouth-hitchcock.org/aging_resource_center.html or call 603-653-3460. For more information about the Upper Valley Senior Center, visit http://www.gcscc.org/upper-valley.html or call 603-448-4213. Liz Sauchelli can be reached at esauchelli@vnews.com or 603-727-3221.