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Dancing Fills Void For Area Seniors

March 20, 2011

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On a typical Tuesday night at the Sul Ross Senior Center just west of downtown, this is the sound. Country music sets the mood, and the scene is a fun one, as dozens of seniors dance, spin, and sway with their spouses or friends they've met at the Young at Heart Dance Club. The Young at Heart Dance Club is one of a number of such organizations in the area, and one of two that meet at the Sul Ross Center. Milford and Kathy Behringer run the club, and say the social aspect of the club meets a number of needs.

Loneliness or a sense of not belonging can affect people as they age, especially when their children are far away. The Young at Heart Dance Club actively seeks to fill that void, and many who attend say it meets their needs. A number of people have found a first dance lead to a second marriage after their spouse has passed away, and even the married couples say that the chance to interact with other people their own age enriches their lives greatly. Dancers like Adele Strand are almost evangelistic in their enthusiasm with other friends about the club.

Adele Strand celebrated her 81st birthday with her fellow dancers at the club. She's part of a growing number of seniors actively seeking out social opportunities. As Americans live longer, they're finding their social needs becoming a more pressing issue as they grow older. It's a small example of the changing face of aging, and the senior citizens dancing all seem to be saying that they're not going to sit back and watch their golden years whittle idly by. J.D. Cozort and his wife Norma have been attending since they moved to Waco to be closer to their children, and he summarizes what many feel about pursuing personal interests in your golden years.

Tomorrow, we'll continue to look at the Young at Heart Dance Club to kick off the series on aging, looking at how the club has met health needs of its dancers, both physical and emotional, and meet people who have found their lives enriched by meeting a spouse. For KWBU News, I'm Derek Smith.

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