Those stopping by the PrimeTime Activity Center on a Tuesday morning might be surprised to see the lively music and dancing that fills the facility’s aerobic room. Seniors step, turn and kick in time with the music, while elsewhere others finish up a game of dominoes. It may seem more like a club than a medical service, but the members and staff refer to it as something else entirely: family.
“It’s a good feeling knowing that if I don’t show up, somebody’s gonna say, “hey, where was she?’ It’s a fantastic place; I talk it up all the time. A lot of people really don’t know about it. They say, what is that? That’s just for old people. And I say, yeah, I’m an old people,” said Kay Kennedy with a laugh, a member at PrimeTime.
Members have access to a wide variety of services, including a large library, walking track, gym, computer lab, exercise room and free coffee. PrimeTime also offers Alzheimer’s disease and bereavement support groups, exercise games and other social activities. The organization partners with Silver Sneakers and offers classes to eligible members.
“The primary goal is to provide a place for the seniors to come that they can socialize, they can exercise, they can see their friends, they can be active in the community by supporting other community programs, where they can just come and feel like there’s a place for them to go,” said Tania Roland, the program facilitator. “That’s our primary goal. We want to be able to provide programs for them so that they want to come here.”
“We continually evaluate the PrimeTime program and add new programs to meet the needs of the seniors in our community. … I have the privilege of
providing programs that affect and enhance all aspects of the lives of seniors. I am grateful for the opportunity to do that,” Roland said.
The group hosts many events and activities for seniors every day from Monday to Friday. Seniors can take chairs and aerobics classes; play Mahjong, bingo or dominos and line dance or crochet. Though many events were initially cancelled due to Covid-19, they are gradually being restored in accordance with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines, Roland said.
“My favorite part is fellowship, family, other people, not being at home. I love this place; I’m here five days a week. And line dancing, it’s fun, it’s exercise,” member Shirley Brigham said.
She also crochets, donating items such as lap rows to nursing homes and other locations in need.
For those interested in volunteering their time, opportunities abound. Seniors help run large parts of the PrimeTime and other parts of the hospital, including volunteer and auxiliary work in accounting, filing, human resources, medical records, registration and the Intensive Care Waiting Room at the hospital. They can also assist as a floor hostess, work in the group’s own gift shop and more.
Some additional volunteer benefits include free annual flu vaccinations and TB tests, one free meal from the cafeteria when on duty, recognition through awards for hours served, discounted membership and gift shop discounts.
“My favorite part is being with the members. Like (Kennedy) was saying, they give me so much more than I can give for them. Even just visiting with them, our members have so much wisdom and knowledge, and I mean they’re just fun to be around. I want to make sure they are taken care of. I just love being with them,” Roland said.
The group also does a donation campaign every month. This month, they have gathered supplies for CASA for Kids, and next month they plan to bring school supplies to donate to local children and school districts.
For those interested in joining, dues are $39 every three months or $156 a year. Those signing up to be an auxiliary or volunteer member pay discounted dues of $15 every three months. The PrimeTime Activity Center is located at 1128 Clarksville St. in Paris.