WCU nursing students partner with Petal senior, veterans center

By NIKKI SMITH,

The partnership between William Carey University’s School of Nursing and the Petal Senior and Veterans Center is a win-win, as nursing students will get valuable hands-on experience and seniors visiting the center get care and social interaction.

Joyce Tisdale, director of the senior and veterans center, said William Carey nursing students will visit the center about once a week, either on Mondays or Wednesdays. She said they will take blood pressure, among other things, to get hands-on experience working with seniors.

Tisdale added that the visits will not only be good for the seniors’ health, but also for their overall wellbeing.

She said it is important for them to socialize and spend time with others, which is why the senior and veterans center is so beneficial.

“A lot of our seniors go home to an empty house,” she said. “So it is good for them to be able to come here and get to socialize with others.”

Mondays and Thursdays are the busiest for the center, according to Tisdale, so she encourages all seniors and veterans in the area to come out and get involved.

Another way that veterans can get involved is by attending the Veteran's Coffee Break on Tuesday, Nov. 28. Area veterans are invited for coffee and to get to know others from 2 to 3:30 p.m. at the center.

Tisdale said that seniors and veterans are not limited to the events held at the center. It is open during the week for many activities, and there is almost always something going on.

Now that the center has a permanent home, senior citizens have a full calendar of fun events, in addition to outings for both leisure and necessity.

The fun kicks off on Monday morning when the bus rolls out to make its rounds within the city limits to pick up seniors across town beginning at 8:30 a.m.

The bus makes it to the center around 9:15 a.m., which is when the card and board games begin on Monday mornings. Breaking for lunch at 11:30 a.m. provided by Christian Services, the excitement gears up again around 12:15 p.m. when bingo gets underway.

“They love bingo,” Tisdale has said. “That’s our big thing.”

Tisdale said the new building has allowed them to offer more opportunities for senior citizens in the Petal area that otherwise would not be possible.

On Tuesdays, it is all about the art. The bus schedule is the same Monday through Friday. However, when everyone arrives on Tuesday morning, the activity that brings everyone together is adult coloring up until the lunch break at 11:30 a.m. Then arts and crafts begin at 12:15 p.m., which is a favorite of those who frequent the center.

The Wednesday and Friday schedules are similar to Mondays with card and board games beginning the day. However, on Wednesdays and Fridays, an exercise and fitness class is offered at the Petal Civic Center from 9 to 10 a.m. as well. The class is still held at the civic center, because despite the new building, there is not a room suitable for an exercise class yet.

Tisdale said Mondays and Thursdays are the center’s busiest days. Thursdays begin with a home-cooked breakfast, followed by bingo.

Anywhere from 25 to 45 senior citizens make their way to the senior center on Thursdays.

Every fourth Wednesday, an outing is offered for those who wish to participate. Outings could be anything from a visit to the park, going out to eat or shopping.

All activities and meals are provided free of charge to all senior citizens. However, Tisdale said they often like to have a “pizza day” or something like that, for which they all pitch in to do.

The senior center also offers trips to doctor appointments for those who need a ride. Appointments for Hattiesburg are scheduled between 10 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. on Mondays and Tuesdays and at the same time on Wednesday for Petal appointments.