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Finding Solace and Community: Mr. Jim's Journey After Loss

The following testimonial was written by a Bluegrass Community Action Partnership staffer.

Not long after their 50th wedding anniversary, Mr. Jim unexpectedly lost his wife. She had been making sure he went to the doctor but didn’t want to go herself, so her heart trouble went undiagnosed. Understandably, Mr. Jim was devastated. “What if” and “should’ve, could’ve, would’ve” kept running through his mind. He felt guilty that he hadn’t noticed her health problems, it ate at him and he missed her. They had been married for 50 years and together longer than that, so he felt lost.

About six months after his wife passed away, he decided that he needed to get out of the house. The only problem was, that this was during Covid and there were a limited number of places open. He remembered that his mother had started going to her local Senior Center in Wisconsin after his dad died and he wondered if Versailles had something similar. Since he frequently went to get prescriptions filled at the downtown drug store, he asked them. They were very helpful and gave him the phone number of the local senior center. He said he called as soon as he got home so he could learn more about the senior center and what services were available. But, as previously mentioned, this was during Covid, and the center was closed to in-person services mandated by the Governor. He called often to find out when the center would open and one day, he was told it would be the next week. He was really looking forward to coming in and meeting everyone.

The Governor allowed senior centers to open back up to in-person services. Mr. Jim walked into the center to meet the staff. He completed an intake/assessment and signed up for congregate meals, recreation, and exercise. Since his intake/assessment, he’s been coming 3 days a week and participating in recreation, exercise, meals, and enjoys socializing with peers who live in his community. He said it’s been very helpful for him to be here. It gives him a reason to get out of the house. He has also enjoyed the walking track at a nearby fitness/recreation center. Mr. Jim has also agreed to be on the Aging Advisory Council and Local Advisory Council as a representative for the senior center. He says he enjoys that because he feels like his opinion matters and people are really listening to him.

While Jim’s initial reason for searching out the senior center was a sad one, finding it has given him something to look forward to. He now has a place to go where he can meet people around his age and talk about things they have in common. The Bluegrass Community Action Partnership Senior Citizens Center has been honored to help Jim process his grief. There’s nothing more important than helping someone in need.

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