Senior center is an antidote to ‘epidemic’ of isolation

In 2023, the Surgeon General labeled loneliness and isolation an epidemic. This epidemic impacts seniors with approximately 1 in 4 older adults experiencing social isolation.

Senior centers play a critical role in addressing this epidemic by cultivating social connections. At the Charlotte Senior Center there is a wide variety of programming to support the varied needs of seniors age 50 and older. Programming includes lectures and presentations, weekly exercise classes and outdoor activities, board and card games, art programs and meals as ways to connect with others.

There are three upcoming presentations to check out. “Hiking the Long Trail” with Charlotte resident Carrie Fenn, HomeShareVT to learn about whether home sharing is an option and a presentation by the Vermont Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired to learn about the wide range of video and audio options available to help navigate vision loss.

Community services

AARP free tax preparation
Wednesdays, March 20 & 27
Tax-aide volunteers will prepare tax returns, provide tax assistance based on your provided information or documents and maintain confidentiality while reviewing and preparing it. Register in-person at the senior center or call 802-425-6345 to schedule an appointment to get your taxes done for free. These tax clinics are open to all ages. One-hour appointments available at the senior center 1-4 p.m. Registration required.

Alzheimer’s caregivers support group
Thursday, March 14, 5-6 p.m.
Are you caring for someone with Alzheimer’s? Do you know someone who is? Please join the monthly Caregiver Support Group on the second Thursday of each month from 5-6 p.m. The meetings provide a safe place for caregivers, family and friends of persons with dementia to meet and develop a mutual support system. Attend by Zoom or in person. For more information or to receive the Zoom meeting link, please email.

Photo by Lori York.
Seniors focus on the game of Shanghai Mahjong at the Charlotte Senior Center.
Photo by Lori York
Seniors focus on the game of Shanghai Mahjong at the Charlotte Senior Center.

Age Well March luncheon
Wednesday, March 27, 12 p.m.
On the fourth Wednesday of the month, Age Well will provide a sit-down meal at the senior center. This month the meal will be cheese tortellini with beef, marinara sauce, green beans with a wheat dinner roll and an orange for dessert. Registration required by Thursday, Feb. 25. $5 lunch donation. You will also need to have a completed 2024 Age Well Registration form on file.

Weekly Age Well Grab & Go meals
Thursdays, 10-11 a.m.
Pick up meals at the Charlotte Senior Center. Registration is required by Monday for the Thursday meal. $5 suggested meal donation but not required. To register, call 802-425-6345 or email.

Bone builders
Tuesdays, 10:30 a.m.-11:30 a.m. & Fridays, 11 a.m.-noon.
RSVP Bone Builders, a program of United Way of Northwest Vermont, is a no-impact, weight-training program designed to prevent and even reverse the negative effects of osteoporosis in older adults. Bone Builders consists of a warm-up, balance exercises, arm and leg exercises and a cool down with stretching. Free. No registration required, but there is paperwork to complete.

Presentations & events

March artist exhibit
The series “Farm and Field” by Margaret McSwain is based on capturing the essence and beauty of Charlotte landscapes, farming spaces and locally grown food. As an oil painter, Margaret has been drawn to the pastoral scenes that surround us and the subtle differences in light and seasonal changes on the land.

Thursday, March 14, 1 p.m.
Join Ric Cengali to find out more about HomeShareVT and whether home sharing is right for you. HomeShare Vermont is all about people helping each other. Each compatible home-sharing match arranged is unique and based upon the needs, interests and lifestyles of the individuals involved. There is a comprehensive screening that assures a great pool to select from, but it is always up to people in the program to decide who they want to live with. Light refreshments provided. Free. Registration appreciated.

VT Association for the Blind & Visually Impaired
Thursday, March 21, 1 p.m.
If you or someone you love is experiencing vision loss, it is still possible to enjoy reading with some simple adaptations. Dan Norris, director of adult services at the Vermont Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired will share both high-tech and no-tech solutions to help navigate vision loss. The association is a nonprofit that can also help you to get magnifiers or teach you how to use smart devices to access print. Free. Registration appreciated.

Hiking the Long Trail
Thursday, March 28, 1 p.m.
Can you imagine hiking 280 miles in 19 days? Have you ever been curious about hiking the Long Trail and what’s involved? Join Charlotte resident Carrie Fenn as she talks about her adventure in 2023 hiking the entire Long Trail solo. She will discuss how she prepared for the hike, the planning involved and how it all went. Free. Registration appreciated.


Birding expedition
Wednesday, March 13, 9 a.m.
Join avid bird watcher Hank Kaestner and learn to identify the various bird species and habitats right here in Vermont. Group size is limited. Free. Registration required.

Backgammon league
Tuesdays, 6-8:30 p.m., & Saturdays, 2-4 p.m.
Backgammon is a tactical table game with a 5,000-year history. The group welcomes players at all levels. Email with questions. Cost: $3

Brain games
Fridays, 2-4 p.m.
There are many ways adults can stimulate their brains to increase mental health, improve memory skills and contribute to overall well-being. Research finds that positive interaction with others and engagement in stimulating group activities sharpens cognition and increases memory ability. Join to play various games, share laughter and enjoy one another’s company. Some games are available, but also feel free to bring your own. Questions? Call Lin Kalson at 608-345-9321 or email.

Pilates fitness
Tuesdays & Thursdays, 8:30-9:30 a.m.
This pilates class is for folks 55+ and is designed to be challenging yet safe. It includes upper-body strength work with hand weights and mat exercises. The group will work core muscles to improve balance, strength and posture. Cost: $8 a class. No registration required.

Photo by Lori York. A full house showed up for Hank Kaestner’s presentation about the history, cultivation and production of vanilla.
Photo by Lori York
A full house showed up for Hank Kaestner’s presentation about the history, cultivation and production of vanilla.

Tuesdays, noon, & Fridays, 12:30 p.m.
Samba is a new version of canasta that has quickly become very popular due to its variety of melds, which keeps the game interesting. If you are curious to learn how to play samba, call Sandy Armell at 802-425-3248.

Gentle hiking group
Thursday, March 28, 9 a.m.
Enjoy the beauty of nature. Come walk at a gentle pace with other seniors. The group will meet each month for a congenial non-strenuous walk. Location to be determined based on conditions of the local walks. Meet at 9 a.m. in the parking lot at Charlotte Senior Center. Call Penny Burman at 916-753-7279 with questions. Registration required. Free.

Watercolor — late winter fun
Tuesdays, March 19-April 9, 9 a.m.-noon
Join Lynn Cummings for a new set of subjects, materials and watercolor processes, just when you are getting really anxious for spring. The group will have fun exploring colorful topics in a supportive environment. Some watercolor experience is helpful. Registration required. Cost: $165

Menus are posted on the website.

Monday lunches
Served weekly 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m., or until the food runs out. Suggested lunch donation $5. No registration required.

Senior center info:
The senior center offers programs for adults 50 and older from Charlotte and surrounding communities. Priority is given to seniors, but programs are open to adults of all ages. Programs include weekly lunches, daily exercise classes and many opportunities to connect through board and card games and art and language programming. Interested in receiving a weekly reminder about what is happening? Sign up for the email newsletters at The “Week Ahead” email is sent out on Friday mornings with activities, lunch menus and special programs for the upcoming week.

Lori York, director,
212 Ferry Road, Charlotte
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