Bernardston Senior Center to offer programs on holiday grief, healthy eating

  • The Powers Institute in Bernardston, a former school, now houses the Bernardston Historical Society and the Senior Center. Recorder Staff/Paul Franz

  • Bernardston Senior Center Director Dianne Cornwell. Jan. 2, 2018. Recorder Staff/Shelby Ashline

Recorder Staff
Saturday, January 06, 2018

BERNARDSTON — The Bernardston Senior Center wants to provide support for seniors experiencing grief during the holidays with a series of workshops this month.

According to Senior Center Director Dianne Cornwell, the center routinely offers pre- and post-holiday workshops to help seniors deal with loss. By teaming up with Hospice of Franklin County, the center offered a memorial candle making workshop in November, and will have three “Post Holiday Support” workshops on Fridays, Jan. 12, 19 and 26.

Each workshop will be held from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. downstairs at the Senior Center.

The holidays, Cornwell explained, can be especially difficult for seniors who have lost a spouse or a child.

“Your memories of the things that used to be, versus what is, just really collide,” she said. “If you’ve lived with someone for 50 years or more, and then they’re not there, the lonely feeling from that … I don’t think there’s words you could describe it with.”

A feeling of loneliness, she continued, coupled with winter doldrums, can lead seniors to further isolate themselves so others won’t know they’re in pain.

“Their kids are sometimes grown and gone, not around, and the feeling of loneliness is just something that’s hard to describe, but something that can be all-consuming,” Cornwell said.

The three workshops, led by Pamela Moore of Hospice of Franklin County, are designed to help participants understand and cope with their grief.

Other programs

Another Senior Center program, called “Eating Heart Healthy,” will be presented by dietician Alicia Walters of Baystate Franklin Medical Center on Wednesday, Feb. 7, starting at 4:30 p.m.

“Alicia’s program will try to answer some of the questions participants may have about the many different advertised heart healthy diets, and will help you focus on choosing what is right for you,” Cornwell said. “There’s a lot of fad dieting out there.”

Cornwell said the workshop will focus less on adopting individual diets, and more on following healthy eating patterns. The workshop was deliberately organized in February not only because it’s Heart Health Month, but to help participants get started on any health-related New Year’s resolutions. The Senior Center’s walking group and healthy bones and balance classes will also resume, Cornwell said.

“Part of that (‘Eating Heart Healthy’ workshop) is for new people, or people who want to get started in the new year,” she explained.

A meal will be served following both the “Eating Heart Healthy” and “Post Holiday Support” workshops. To sign up or for more information about either program, call the Senior Center at 413-648-5413.