Program provides lifeline for some seniors

Published 12:00 am Friday, October 8, 2004

Some Place Special’s program coordinator Elizabeth Naya, right, talks with member Emma Carey Thursday morning during the two-year-anniversary program. Carey has been coming to Some Place Special since the doors opened two years ago.(Brian Loden The Vicksburg Post)

[10/8/04]After his wife died, Barley Smith was depressed. He lost 35 pounds and rarely left his house.

“I truly think he would’ve followed her if he hadn’t come here,” said Smith’s daughter, Margaret Richmond.

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“Here” is Some Place Special, a program sponsored by the Warren-Yazoo Mental Health Service. The program celebrated its two-year anniversary Thursday at its Manor Drive home.

The program is simple: adults over 50 go to the center and talk, play games, hear speakers and, in general, have fun from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., Monday through Friday. Group therapy is offered and the program also offers bimonthly field trips. The point is to fight isolation.

“A lot of them call it work. A lot of them call it school,” said program head Elizabeth Naya.

The program is paid for by Medicaid if the senior is enrolled in the program. If not, the fee is on a sliding scale, based on income.

“The prices are very reasonable,” Naya said.

The 27 members of the program and their families shared what Some Place Special, recently named a state model program, has meant to them during a portion of the celebration appropriately called Heartfelt Expressions.

“For the last few months, all she talks about is the center,” said Vera Patterson of her mother-in-law, Willie Mae Patterson.

“For 10 years, I went from my couch to my bed and back again,” said Robert Phillips, who was forced into retirement because of physical disability. “Now I’m here every day.”

“When I first started,” Ida Moffett said, “I was going to dialysis, going home, going to bed.

It has been a blessing in my life.”

The most popular activityand Moffett’s favoriteis beanbag baseball. The seniors throw bags at targets to score runs.

“There’s not a day you can’t hear a lot of whoopin’ and hollerin’ from this room,” said Naya’s supervisor, Jeanine Hanks.

The program offers a snack breakfast and a full lunch. Naya said new members need to fill out some paperwork and get a physical to join.

“There are a lot of wonderful seniors here,” Smith said. “I like just about everything.” Laughing and slapping the back of a visitor, he said, “I like to eat!”

“I don’t know what I would’ve done without this program,” Richmond said. “I think it’s what’s kept him healthy and alive.”