“The Gathering Place” Opens in Chatfield

January 19, 2012

Church: Chatfield UMC

District: River Valley

Submitted by: Rev. Debra Jene Collum

The Gathering Place for Seniors, Chatfield United Methodist Church's (CUMC) newly-formed health ministry for senior citizens, led by parish nurse Beverly Simpson, held its inaugural open house Tuesday, Jan. 10. bringing together agencies intent on making elder citizens' golden years well-lived and enriched through services available to them.

Participants in The Gathering Place's open house included the Southeastern Minnesota Agency on Aging, the Senior LinkAge Line, Fillmore County Public Health - with home health services featured, the Fillmore County and Olmsted County Veterans Service offices, Semcac Fillmore and Houston counties, Fillmore County and Olmsted County Meals on Wheels and Senior Dining programs and the Elder Network.

The Gathering Place is open the second Tuesday of each month from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Special health advocacy presentations are slated for Tuesday, Feb. 14, and Tuesday, March 13, from 11 a.m. to noon each day.

Besides a place for health education, the Gathering Place is also home to the Fillmore County's medical equipment loan closet that is filling up quickly with assistive living items that Simpson is grateful to catalog.

"We have a number of walkers, a hospital bed, crutches, commodes, wheelchairs and lifts. I think the community has been very generous. These things are available for anybody in the community to borrow if they're disabled, whether they're young or seniors."

And just outside the sanctuary, there's an assortment of materials available--DVDs provided through a church member who works for the Mayo Clinic, and books Simpson chose, as well as informational articles that she's saved on numerous health topics.

"We have books to check out, and we hope to add more to the library as time goes on," Simpson stated, thanking a member of the CUMC congregation who works at IBM for applying for a grant for the library and a community foundation grant from Chatfield.

The grant will expand titles at the Gathering Place's mini-library including titles such as "Grandparents are Forever," "What Would Jesus Eat?" "Living with Purpose in a Worn Out Body," "Ten Gospel Promises for Later Life," and "No Act of Love is Ever Wasted."

She invited visitors to check out the books, the DVDs, presentations and other services The Gathering Place and Loan Closet offers and to stop by for a cup of coffee and a chat. Excerted from the Chatfield News, 1/17/12

On Sunday, Jan. 15th, The Gathering Place hosted a Sunday Supper in partnership with Human Relations Sunday. Angela Lunde from Mayo presented on the topic of Memory Loss: A Little More Forgetful Lately? Over 30 participants heard the latest research on normal age-related forgetfulness, warning signs of early dementia as well as a look into preventing Alzheimer’s through lifestyle. 

Minnesota Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church

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