Kathy of North Reading comes every day for lunch at the North Reading Senior Center. She has various health issues, such as emphysema, that affect her daily living. She relies on transportation services back and forth from the senior center as she does not drive. “My life has been transformed since attending the dining site,” says Kathy. “I now have a purpose in life.”

Two years ago, Mary Prenney, the senior center director, invited Kathy to a July 4th party at the center, which she thoroughly enjoyed. Since that day, she has returned to the dining site every week for good food and good conversation with new friends. Kathy is reconnecting with people who she has known from her past or they know her through other family members. She also helps serve food and assists the more needy older adults with their meals.

Kathy is one of the hundreds of congregate meal participants who attend one of Mystic Valley Elder Services’ 20 Senior Dining Sites located throughout the region in senior centers, senior housing complexes, and other convenient locations. These locations offer older adults and individuals living with disabilities an opportunity to meet and enjoy a nutritious lunch. Virtually all senior dining sites have the choice between hot or cold lunches.

Prior to attending North Reading’s Senior Center dining site, Kathy cared for her father for more than two years so was homebound with him for much of that time. She did not eat regularly — she either did not eat at all or she ate too much. By attending the meal site she has learned to regulate her eating habits by knowing what types, and how much food should be on her plate. She has also learned about the nutritional value of her meals and how these nutrients are helping her fuel her body by eating more protein, vegetables and starches.

“I get to eat many different types of food that I would never have thought of eating myself, such as teriyaki salmon and meals with pesto. I love the variety of meals they offer,” said Kathy.

For more information about MVES’ Dining sites, and other Nutrition programs, please visit here.

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