45 Years- Senior Center Celebrates Longevity

Judy Kramer
County Reporter
Care Connection operates 22 senior centers in 13 Missouri counties, including the Warsaw Senior Center. In honor of Care Connection’s 45th anniversary, special activities were enjoyed at the Warsaw Senior Center October 1 – 5.
There was a performance of guitar playing and line dancing on Monday, October 1. On Tuesday, seniors sat in numbered chairs and won a prize when their chair number was drawn. Wednesday, Oct. 3, was “Bring a Friend Day,” and there were gift bags for those who participated. Thursday, Oct. 4, was Baby Picture Contest, and Friday, October 5, was Dignitary Day when Mayor Eddie Simons made a proclamation and talked to seniors about Care Connection. There was also a cake-baking contest.
According to a Benton County Enterprise (BCE) article dated October 22, 2009, the Warsaw Senior Center had been in existence for 30 years at that time (39 years today), and managed in part by Care Connection. The article reported that the Senior Center had been located in several parts of Warsaw, and in 2009 was located at 920 Gunstock, behind Country Mart. It began as a nutrition site, serving meals in and around Warsaw and the entire southern half of Benton County. The current Senior Center became housed at Harbor Village when the new building was opened in 2013. Meals at the Center’s Village Café were first served in October of that year. Another BCE article in May of 2013 reported that 27,000 meals were being served a year with 20,000 of those delivered to homes. The Café is large enough to serve 200, and was averaging (in 2013) about 80 meals served a day compared to 20 meals a day at the old Center on Gunstock. Lunch and nutrition are important parts of Care Connection. The latest statistics available reveal that 817 meals were served at the Village Café in July 2018, and 1,300 meals were delivered to homes in the area.
Teresa Torrence took over as Director of County Services on July 23rd, moving to the area from Lenexa, Kansas, for the purpose of taking the job. She previously spent 32 plus years working in telecommunications in Overland Park, Kansas, and most recently enjoyed helping people through employment with Benefits at Home.
She is eager to add more classes and events at the Warsaw Senior Center. In addition to current activities at the Center, she wants to implement music for participants to listen and dance to, and hopes to find a place for jam sessions. She believes that it is important to provide settings for people to get together with others for social interactions.
“The social aspect of aging is that seniors don’t get together with each other as much as they did in the past,” said Torrence. “They have an inner desire to engage, but some fear getting involved. I want an inviting place where they can feel comfortable and enjoy themselves.”
Other routine activities at the Center include card games and bingo; beading, dancing, card-making and exercise classes that include line dancing, zumba gold, pilates, joint friendly exercise, Tai Chi, and low-impact aerobics. There is also an open computer room, guitar lessons, Weight Watchers, blood pressure checks, fitness gym membership and of course lunch in the Village Café from 11:30 AM to 1 PM. 
Outside organizations and individuals often rent some of the rooms at the Senior Center for special occasions or regularly scheduled events. The Senior Center handled rentals until recently. However, the building is owned by Katy Trail and rentals may be taken over by that organization.
One group that meets often at the Center is called New Neighbors, and its members play bingo. The Warm House also held an annual appreciation luncheon for its volunteers at the Center, and there has been at least one wedding ceremony. In addition, seminars appropriate for seniors, and holiday-related fun events take place often.
“I want people who have different skills to come in and teach some classes,” said Torrence. “I’d like to see a quilting class, and find a place for jam sessions. There are a lot of musicians locally who would enjoy getting together with other talented people to play music.”