PSR holds third senior dance

When Piedmont Senior Resources Area Agency on Aging (PSR) Nutrition Program Coordinator Nikki Dean asked seniors in PSR’s weekly Friendship Cafes for suggestions for new activities, the answer was spontaneous: Older adults in the seven-county area served by PSR wanted to dance.

“PSR’s Friendship Cafes are pretty spread out,” Dean explained. “Many of our clients wanted to meet people in other counties. I thought a dance would bring everybody together…I thought it would be a great way to showcase our Friendship Cafes to the public.” 

Weekly Friendship Cafes, held in the seven counties served by PSR, include a nutritious lunch, games, crafts and a time for socializing.

In 2019, the first Senior Dance was held at the Farmville Moose Lodge, and the public was invited. 

“We shuttled people to the dance using our buses and brought in a DJ to play music from the 50s, 60s and 70s,” Dean explained. “Arlene Layden of Piggin Out Catering donated her time and gave us a discount on the food. Everyone had a great time!”

Unfortunately, COVID arrived the following year.

“We had to set aside plans for another dance for a few years,” Dean noted. 

As pandemic fears subsided in 2022, PSR’s older adults took to the Moose Lodge dance floor once again. 

“PSR is proud of the role we play in ensuring barriers to nutrition, transportation, and other social supports are removed for the older adult population,” said Nutrition and Transportation Director Thomas Jordan Miles III. “A key social determinant of health is socialization, and this event that Dean organizes directly addresses that for the betterment of our communities.”

“This time we had a Senior Prom Dance complete with a prom king and queen,” Dean added. “Michael Reamer, my cousin and President of the Farmville Moose Lodge, was our DJ, and Piggin Out Catering provided the food and most of the decor.”

The 2023 Senior Dance held on September 22 featured a country-western theme.

“Everyone came decked out in cowboy boots and hats, and we added a photo booth with a printer so dancers could take a photo memory home,” Dean said.

Dean noted the success of the dance project in attendance numbers that continue to climb as more older adults take to the dance floor.

“For our first dance we had 70 attending; this year we had 110.”

While dances are free, donation buckets are in place for anyone wishing to contribute. Dean explained that federal funding helps cover necessities such as food but not the “extras.” 

“The donations we receive go to fund those extra programs and activities,” she adds.

Dean obviously enjoys implementing the extras that add a bit of bling to the lives of older adults in the community.

“I love my job,” she concludes. “If I find something that’s going to make our older adults happy, I’ll do my best to make it happen.”