Buchanan Area Senior Center – Seniors Embracing Life
by Stephanie Fain
There is no doubt that COVID has made life a little more complicated for all. People are reporting feeling lonelier than ever and it’s no surprise that our seniors are feeling the same. What would we do without the Buchanan Area Senior Center? Well, not that I expected anyone to answer but I think it brings up a good question, “What exactly does the Buchanan Area Senior Center do for our area?”
I spoke with Adam Burck, the newly appointed Executive Director who has all the answers. The quote on the back of his business card states, “It is the mission of the Buchanan Area Senior Center to promote physical, social and mental well-being of our elderly citizens.” The man shows an obvious passion for his job and lit up while verbally confirming my assumptions about the large, very open-armed community my eyes were taking in. As we started walking the property, I noticed spurts of well placed color pulling me to outside the building, telling me stories of confidence and adventure, evidence of sewing circles, healthy meals to come in the raised Community Garden, and my favorite… chit-chat, everywhere! What a gem!
“What is to come is going to shape the Community Center for decades. We have chosen our Annual Appeal for this year to work on a place where our seniors can help maintain physical activity during these hard times.” It was clear Adam was thinking ahead. Though COVID seems to be dropping off, the probability that bigger pandemics may be on the way is on many people’s minds, but to a man like Adam, in charge of the most vulnerable in our society, it is something he is going to get ahead of. His mission this year is to raise $50,000 to add large windows that are able to open and air out the future enclosure to the outdoor patio, add lighting, furnishings and HVAC so that it can be used as a large safe space for our seniors to do many of the wonderful programs that BASC has to offer such as line dancing, a variety of exercising (including yoga and chair exercises), arts and crafts, meetings, book club, enjoying BASC’s beautiful views year round, and card games like Euchre, Mah Jongg, Pinochle, Hand & Foot, and Cribbage. We all know how important sunlight can be in developing and maintaining a strong immune system and positive mind!
BASC also offers some impressive ways to get out and stay connected to more than just their buildings. They offer offsite socializations, such as their Lunch Bunch Club, where seniors meet the fourth Friday every month at a different restaurant in the area. No excuses! They have carpool and offer Dial-A-Ride tokens for those who cannot reach the Buchanan Area Senior Center for any of their programs. On the 8th of April, BASC took the first of a series of small groups of seniors to CannaVista to experience some patient teaching on alternative forms of medicine.
Some events they hold on site, bringing the community to the seniors. They partner with local businesses, such as Honor Credit Union, to offer the Senior Fraud Prevention Class. They have organized events to get glasses checked, adjusted and repaired. Also they’ve hosted blood-pressure checks and have partnered with a local Doctor of Audiology for hearing aid cleaning and checking. BASC knows they have the responsibility of keeping up with our community’s most vulnerable, they take it seriously and are not shy about keeping up with the times. Clearly BASC are growers! Their community raised garden beds both connect our seniors to the earth while preventing unnecessary back pain, and offer nutritious fruits and vegetables to cook healthy, hearty meals to enjoy together. They did not leave out one very important element of life: the ability to give back, offering an opportunity for the seniors to give back by partnering with ONE Buchanan to be a collection site for RAM helping to replace items the West Wind fire victims still need. Adam told me, “The most needed things are personal items such as shampoo and conditioner.” BASC is also a place to find a beautifully hand-made, donated mask. They have made an art out of survival.
Adam was very excited to tell me about a program they are currently working on to solve an issue we all knew was coming: connecting seniors easily and safely through technology! BASC is currently working on SO much helpful online content for our seniors including the Fireside Chat where Adam Burck, the Executive Director, sits down and has free-flowing conversations with volunteers and seniors about all the topics surrounding Buchanan senior citizens aired on their YouTube channel and on BASC’s Facebook page. They address challenges such as depression and isolation and include helpful solutions to solve them. They even have their very own Buchanan Area Senior Chronicle that is chocked full of activities, a Meals-On-Wheels calendar, a delicious recipe (I will absolutely be botching in the near future), activity calendar, health information, area resources and updates on which programs have unfortunately been canceled due to COVID. (Let’s help them change that by supporting their Annual Appeal of enclosing their patio.) Ways to donate to this cause include to call in, drop off, or mail to their address at 810 Rynearson St. Buchanan, MI 49107. (501c3 Tax deductible)
From what I can see, BASC’s role is to bring color, update life skills, and instill confidence at a time when humans typically are losing it; to encourage them to take those next steps in life, and to guide and educate our elders at a time when things are increasingly confusing and difficult. Donating to BASC is an investment in ourselves, our families, our foundation and our very own futures! Because honestly, who is thinking about moving away from this beautiful town any time soon?
Never Stop Growing, Buchanan!