‘Thrive’ enhances lives, health

Dorchester Banner/Dave Ryan
Donald and Marylynn Cameron brought their therapy dog Minnie to Thrive on Saturday. They were joined by the Dorchester Banner’s mascot, “Newshound”.

CAMBRIDGE — The Dorchester Banner presented “Thrive,” an event celebrating senior life after 55, on Saturday. In partnership with Delmarva Community Services (DCS) and MAC, Inc., the Area Agency on Aging, the event came to Dorchester for the first time. Thrive was sponsored by University of Maryland Shore Regional Health.

Dozens of vendors and information agencies filled the meeting room of DCS, MAC’s county contractor. “MAC wanted to spread [Thrive] to all the places they have senior centers,” the Banner’s Bailey Williams said.

And while general information on health, fitness, and recreation was an important part of the day, there was another reason – to raise awareness regarding recent cuts in government funding to the Meals on Wheels program operated by MAC centers. “They never really had the money for it,” Ms. Williams said, but MAC and contractors including DCS kept the meals going to isolated and ill seniors by using their own funds.

Now that there is less help coming from the government, local officials say cuts will have to be made in the deliveries unless other sources of funding are found.

Among the services on display Saturday was a table from ArkLife Music Therapy. Brothers Stephen and Thomas Gerni played guitars and other stringed instruments as they explained the value of true music therapy – not just entertainment – for those with a variety of conditions.

“It helps people experience structure,” Thomas Gerni said. “Music uses the whole brain.”

Visitors learned about the comprehensive services and products, some traditional and others maybe a bit surprising, available to help seniors maintain good physical and mental health.

Donald and Marylynn Cameron caused a stir when they arrived with their therapy dog Minnie. The tiny pooch, riding in her own stroller, was decked out in sunglasses and a colorful hat, just right for the sunny spring weather.

Minnie fit right in, being familiar with the environment. “She is certified” as a therapy dog, Ms. Cameron said. “She just likes people.”

For more information, contact DCS’s Senior Information and Assistance Office, at 410-221-1900.

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