Thursday, January 24, 2002

Independence seniors get advocate




By Cindy Schroeder
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        INDEPENDENCE — An Independence woman has been hired to direct the city's new senior center, scheduled to open Feb. 14.

AGING POPULATION
Kenton County
   
Total population
   1990: 142,031
   2000: 151,464
   Number of residents 55 and older
   
1990 census: 27,698 (19.5 percent)
   2000 census: 28,777 (19 percent)
Independence
   
Total population
   1990: 10,444
   2000: 14,982
   Number of residents 55 and older
   
1990: 1,383 (13.2 percent)
   2000: 1,963 (13.1 percent)
   Source: Northern Kentucky Area Development District
        Joan Bowling, 32, who has a background in home economics and event planning, was chosen over 19 other Tristate candidates, said Independence City Administrator Mark Wendling. She begins her $35,000-a-year position Feb. 4.

        The one-story brick senior center, located in Memorial Park off Ky. 17, will serve southern Kenton County's oldest residents. Local seniors, who now must go to Elsmere or Walton to take part in daily organized activities, began lobbying for their own center five years ago.

        About 300 seniors have purchased memberships to the new center.

        “We're hoping that we will have the center open on Valentine's Day,” Mr. Wendling said. “We plan on doing a special party.”

        Mrs. Bowling, who has a degree in vocational home economics from Morehead State University, also has a background in nutrition, and she has taught programs at the Woodspoint Senior Center in Florence.

        For the past five years, Mrs. Bowling has worked for the University of Kentucky, currently as a county extension agent for family and consumer sciences at the Boone County Cooperative Extension Service office and earlier as a 4-H agent for Kenton County. Before that, she taught home economics at Carroll County High School.

        Mrs. Bowling plans to do a needs assessment on the types of programming southern Kenton County seniors want. However, she said, programming likely will include health screenings, everything from checks for osteoporosis to a mobile mammography unit.

        “A lot of people don't want to drive to the northern end of the county to have those things done,” she said.

        She hopes to bring in hot meals at lunchtime twice a week and later expand that. Mrs. Bowling also tentatively plans to offer instruction in arts and crafts, dance classes and instruction on wellness issues and “just give seniors a place to go to have fun.”
       



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