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Senior Center News – Center still closed due to pandemic

By Charlene O’Dell

Edna Crowe, Clinchfield Senior Adult Center’s oldest active member, celebrated her 102nd birthday with family members on Saturday, Aug. 8. Edna is still physically active and mentally alert. On her birthday, she and I discussed many inventions she has seen and enjoyed in her lifetime as well as challenges like polio and the current coronavirus. Because of the Center being closed, she like many others has missed coming to the Senior Center occasionally to visit with long-time friends.

CSAC has new telephone and internet providers! For over three months, our phones worked intermittently, usually anywhere from 10 minutes to a total of an hour per day, and the internet worked about half the time, especially the last six weeks. Frequent phone interaction with company reps and field technicians failed to solve the problems, so our only recourse was to seek new service providers.

Curiously but fortunately, callers were always able to leave voice messages which we could retrieve with our personal phones. Regardless of that fact, our staff was unable to communicate adequately with our members.

We are thrilled now to have excellent business phone service with TELESCAN and dependable, high-speed internet by Erwin Fiber – and at a lower overall cost. Since the new phone service was installed, our receptionist, Susie Mullenix, has been systematically calling all active members to check on them and to verify current contact information.

Tennessee senior centers still have not been given permission by Governor Lee to re-open.  When we do re-open, there will be some new requirements, which we will publicize when we announce the re-opening date. Those will come from the TN Commission on Aging and will include mandatory masks, temperature checks and screening questions upon entering each day.

It is important that all of us follow the recommended guidelines, including frequent hand washing, no handshakes or hugging, being in groups of no more than 10 people with six foot distancing at all times, and wearing a mask in public.

Please, especially if you have friends or older family members with underlying health conditions, keep in touch daily if possible to show your concern and check on their emotional and physical well being and to see if they have any needs.

We want any senior in Unicoi County to feel free to contact us by calling 743-5111 or by email at  [email protected] if CSAC staff can be of assistance. If there is no answer, leave a message and a staff person will return the call.

If any high-risk senior has a need for essential items or medications, the person can call the Sheriff’s Department at 743-1854 between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. for pick-up and delivery of medications from local pharmacies and small orders from local grocery stores. We applaud Sheriff Mike Hensley and his deputies for providing this service.

Clinchfield Senior Adult Center is located at 220 Union St. in downtown Erwin and is closed until further notice.