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Last month we discussed what local businesses could do to attract young people. Kids and teens are an important group to connect with, but a large portion (about 20 percent, according to the latest census) of the population in Trenton consists of senior citizens.

The city of Trenton offers great services and programs for seniors, some in conjunction with local businesses and health care organizations. If you, or someone in your family is 55 years of age or older this column is for you.

The senior citizen program, based at the Westfield Activities Center, located at 2700 Westfield Road, provides a multitude of services and activities. Whether you are recently retired, living alone, or just looking to meet new friends, there is no reason to stay home!

Each weekday, there is something happening at the Westfield Center, including card games such as bridge, euchre and pinochle, as well as board games and Bunco.

Other fun activities that run throughout the year include:

• Exercise classes, such as chair yoga and indoor walking with the “Silver Sneakers.”

• Bowling at Belmar Lanes.

• Social Clubs, including “Pleasant Hours,” “New Horizon,” and “Heritage” hold card games and much more throughout the week.

• “Trenton Travelers” — this popular club is open to any adult. How does lunch and a trip to the Greektown Casino sound?  Or maybe a trip to the Fox Theatre to see “South Pacific” with a group of friends, without having to drive? The group also offers longer bus and train trips to various locales throughout Michigan and beyond.

• The “Friendship Club” holds dances on Friday evenings at the Westfield Center with various DJs and performers.

• A big event coming up is the “Sloppy Joe Sundae,” Sunday, Feb. 26, from 4-8 p.m.  This event features a dinner of sloppy joes, chips, cole slaw, pasta salad and brownie sundaes, as well as a D.J. playing music, games, and fun with friends, all for just $6. Tickets are available at the Westfield. This is a popular even that sells out quickly, so don’t wait!

Other services are available to help with health or lifestyle needs, including:

Medical supply loan closet — medical equipment for loan when needed, such as wheelchairs and walkers. The Trenton Rotary initially purchased the items, but now the closet receives many donations.  Items are available with a refundable deposit.

Tax assistance — with volunteer tax preparers for senior citizens, persons with disabilities and low-income individuals.

Senior Driving program — this class is held at various times throughout the year to help senior drivers keep up with new laws and features on new vehicles, helping to keep your license as well as possibly lowering insurance rates.

Health screening programs — partnering with local hospitals, screenings and information on health issues such as blood pressure and stroke are held at various times throughout the year.

Transportation — One of the most important and biggest services is the Trenton Transportation program. Whether you need a ride to a doctor’s appointment, or just running errands to the bank or grocery store, a taxi shuttle service is available for Trenton Residents 60 years of age or older. You must register in advance at the Westfield Center. The service area includes Trenton and neighboring communities bounded by Vreeland to the South, Northline Road to the North, Telegraph to the West, and West Jefferson to the East. The service is available Mondays through Saturdays, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. The cost to use the shuttle service is $2 each way, for every drop-off. When traveling outside the service area, there is an additional charge per mile.

Carol Garrison is the energetic senior citizen coordinator who makes this all run smoothly. I met with her on a Tuesday afternoon this month, and the place was a bustle of activity.  A group of about 30 people were playing bridge, and the office saw a steady stream of phone calls and visitors, inquiring about activities, transportation and making use of the loan closet.

I commented that it was a busy day. “We have very busy days here,” she exclaimed through a smile. “I have been doing this for nine years … I absolutely love this job!”

She encourages those who are interested in learning more to stop by the Westfield Center during business hours, 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Mondays through Fridays to pick up a copy of the monthly newsletter, “Senior Tidings,” and see what is going on for the month.

You can also find brochures with Information for senior living services in the area, and fliers for upcoming trips and classes.

If you need a ride, that is no reason to miss the fun. “The Loop” transportation service is available to pick up Trenton Seniors free of charge and bring them to Westfield on Mondays and Wednesdays to participate. The shuttle will make a “loop” around town with stops at the Westfield Center, Kennedy Recreation Center, the Library and Trafford Square. Free shuttles to Meijer on Mondays and Southland mall on Wednesdays are also offered. The shuttle is free and serves Trenton seniors 60 years of age and over only.

Many of the clubs and activities are open to residents outside of Trenton as well. The best way to find out which clubs and activities are for you is to stop in at the Westfield and check it out. Soon, your grandchildren may be envious of your social life!

If you have any experience with these programs that you would like to share, or if you have a favorite business in Trenton that is especially helpful to the thousands of senior citizens in the Downriver area, I’d love to hear about it!

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