A Local Community for Seniors to Have Fun, Socialize, Share, and Meet New Friends
By Lisa Talley
Getting older doesn’t have to mean that the fun stops here. It’s true that our society has led us to believe that when we become seniors, our lives are resigned to leading a quiet life either with family or in assisted living facilities. And often times these environments lack the same kind of social interaction we would have likewise enjoyed in our youth. However, it doesn’t have to be the only reality for seniors living in the greater Fresno area.
Palm Village Senior Network is a 501(c)3 non-profit committed to providing on-going opportunities for seniors to remain active and engaged in mind, body, and spirit with each other and in the community. For many seniors who choose to age in place, isolation and depression often affect the ability to maintain good physical and mental health. By providing a place to gather for activities, provide moral support and opportunities for socialization, Palm Village Senior Network (PVSN) members can keep their minds sharp, bodies active, and spirit uplifted.
“Getting involved with PVSN has made a tremendous impact on my life. In August of 2013, I retired from Fresno Unified after 50 years. When I turned in my retirement papers I felt like my life was over, my children were off on their own, my husband deceased, and I no longer had my teaching job. I came home to an empty house [one day] and found a postcard from Palm Village Senior Network inviting me to join. I immediately emailed [contacted them] and went over there the next day. Now, I have a full and active life playing bridge, canasta, bingo, bunco… I do crafts, line dancing, and belong to a book club. We go out to lunch once a month and have taken some wonderful field trips. Most importantly, I have made some wonderful friends that have had a positive impact on my life,” shares Carol Fiorentino. PVSN’s first visitor in 2013, Carol has been an avid participant in all the organization’s activities as well as a welcoming presence for the newer members. Carol also recently took a position on the Board of Directors as Secretary/Treasurer.
Research has shown that for the next 15 years the senior population will explode. Statistics show that there were 40.2 million seniors in the United States in 2010. By 2050 the projected population of Americans age 65 and older will more than double to 88.5 million. It begged the question, what kind of programs would need to be created to support this increasing population? In the summer of 2013, Barbara Beauchamp, Director of Palm Village Senior Network, along with David Reimer, CEO of Peer Services Inc., a consulting firm for senior living, came up with an idea to create a program for seniors in the Fresno area.
And in looking at their program for just the month of February, they’re hosting activities nearly 5 days a week. The activities include line dancing, bridge and various other card games, a monthly luncheon, a book club meeting, bunco, and potluck just to name a few. And many of these activities are led and promoted by their members. Volunteers and members are currently working on planning an upcoming day trip to the Getty Gardens and the Reedley Playhouse.
Currently, PVSN is the only senior network in town and presents an experience that differs from the senior centers within the community.
“I like to think of Palm Village Senior Network as a social club with no membership fees,” offers Director Beauchamp, “small fees are required, however, for some of our activities like line-dancing, Bingo, Bunco, and crafts.”
As a non-profit organization, PVSN relies heavily on donations from members who donate what they can. Some members donate in-kind items such as paper, ink, paper towels, and like supplies. Other members will donate cash to our donation box intermittently and some donate monthly or quarterly. There are also those who give the gift of time and talent, whether in volunteering or sharing/teaching a skill.
In fact, PVSN is always looking for volunteers.
“Most of our volunteers are members who help with getting the newsletter or calendar out. Volunteers also help plan our events and trips while also acquiring donations for the silent auction. We have had several Fresno State students complete their volunteer hours or internships with us at PVSN,” says Beauchamp.
The organization also hopes to add some vendors to their volunteer list for small house repairs and errands. Since the members at PVSN live in their own homes, they often need a little help with things like changing a light bulb or the batteries in the smoke detector. If you or someone you know is a handyman and would be interested in volunteering their time for few hours a month, PVSN would like to hear from you.
Likewise, if you are interested in volunteering for other activities or in becoming a member, Palm Village Senior Network would like you to reach out. Volunteers will be required to fill out an application whereas future members simply need to let organizers know where to send the monthly newsletter and calendar.
And getting in contact is easy, you can call or email PVSN’s Director, Barbara, at 559-346-7662 or firstname.lastname@example.org. You’re also welcome to stop in, the organization is located in North Fresno on the corner of Ingram and Fallbrook at 7638 N. Ingram, Suite 111 A Fresno, 93711.
“If you feel like something is missing in your life whether it’s friendship, companionship, or you’re filled with just that empty feeling, contact Barbara at the Palm Village Senior Network. This was the right thing for me and maybe it will be for you, too.” – Judy Axe, active member and one of PVSN’s creative writing participants.