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Service pieces together puzzle for seniors




Gathered around a table, the three women carefully examined the puzzle pieces scattered in front of them. They cheered each time a match was found, and a winter scene of three bears continued to take shape.

"We've been working on the puzzle for two weeks now. It was not an easy one," said Jalynn Paulson, a certified medical assistant. "We're hoping to have it done by Friday."

"Or by next Christmas," Hays resident Verla Staab said, as everyone chuckled.

The cozy scene is a typical day at Good Samaritan Society's Adult Day Services at Hadley Center, 220 E. Eighth, Ste. A.

The facility opened in August following a two-year grassroots campaign to raise awareness and funds for the project. Services are available from approximately 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., providing respite for local families caring for elderly loved ones, and giving seniors a place to gather for socializing and engaging activities.

Ten seniors have signed up for the service so far, and organizers are hoping those numbers will continue to grow, said director Gina Anderson. The facility is licensed to have as many as 15 clients each day, and that number possibly could jump to 22 if needed.

Anderson and Paulson work to offer a variety of activities, including morning exercises and a variety of arts and crafts. The clients made Santa hats to prepare for Christmas, and colorful paper turkeys decorated the facility's tables for the Thanksgiving season.

Some of the clients, including 85-year-old Connie McCall, have had the opportunity to learn a new skill. McCall carved her first pumpkin for Halloween and enjoyed it so much she quickly did a second.

"It gives me something to do," McCall, from Munjor, said of the facility. "I get to enjoy meeting other people. I think a lot of other men and women should start coming."

The activities already seem to be enhancing some of the clients' abilities, Anderson said.

"We've seen an improvement in their cognitive ability, as well as their sensory perception of being able to stay focused a lot longer to work to completion," she said. "We're working on self-esteem and getting into things they've never done before."

Marjorie Wineland, 90, Hays, began going to the facility after moving in with her son's family.

"I like it here because Marj likes it here," said Eileen Wineland, Marjorie's daughter-in-law. "She just enjoys herself. Look at her -- look at that smile."

As part of ongoing efforts to educate the public about the new facility, staff and clients will host a Christmas Tea from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Thursday. The event will give the public a chance to tour the facility, which offers a resting area, an entertainment center, a dining area and a fully accessible bathroom, complete with a walk-in shower.

The center also is welcoming Christmas donations and would appreciate gift cards to purchase supplies, Anderson said.

For more information, call (785) 621-4726.