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Playing the hand they’re dealt

Whether it’s beating a top score in rummy, putting together a puzzle or undertaking the challenges of Phase 10, a new group that meets at The Woodland’s Brookview Lodge activity room in Farmville gives members of the community an outlet to play.

A new group — only several weeks young — is encouraging Woodland residents, those who live in nearby apartments and the Farmville community to enjoy each other’s company, share finger foods and engage in a good game of cards free of charge.

The group meets every second and fourth Thursday of the month, and games and finger foods are provided. A recent spread, courtesy of The Woodland, included cucumber sandwiches, egg salad sandwiches, trail mix and iced water, tea and lemonade for players.

Event organizer Nancy Haga said she was inspired to initiate the event after researching possible links between increased brain activity and playing cards — something she said could be useful to people as they grow older.

“We’re all getting old and forgetful,” Haga said. For older people she said common questions arise, such as “Where did you park your car at Walmart? What did I do with my car keys? (I) can’t think of a name.”

Haga said a potential link between card playing and memory makes sense to her. She wanted to take the idea further and start a group that may not only improve memory, but also give people a place to socialize and get to know one another.

“It’s a combination between two things,” Haga said. “Your brain is working, and (there’s) socialization: they’re talking and laughing and getting some snacks.”

Giving people an opportunity to interact with others was another reason for Haga to start the card event. She said she had heard from people, especially the elderly, who said they felt lonely. She wanted to find a solution.

Haga approached The Woodland about the event, and the senior housing and care facility was on board.

Director of Marketing and Development David Whitus said in a statement that the group provides a needed chance for fun and camaraderie.

“The Woodland is pleased to host this bi-monthly event,” Whitus said. “It allows residents of The Woodland neighborhood and residents of the greater community an opportunity to come together for a time of socialization, card games and puzzles. As we grow older, these card games help stimulate the mind and keep us focused.” 

The group meets in The Woodland Activity Center, where close to eight tables were occupied with different card games during a recent event.

People played bridge on three different tables. One table held a puzzle, another had Phase 10, a game with card challenges, another table had rummy while another had rummikub.

It was Vicky Morrin’s first time attending the event. Playing Phase 10 with three others, she said she enjoyed the company and befriended Betty Sumner, who also lives in the area.

“I think it’s great to come here to play, make a new friend,” Morrin said.

Peggy Hatcher, of Farmville, was finishing a round of rummy with Jo Smith, Sharon Brown and Jane Crute. Hatcher said she heard about the event from Haga, who invited her.

“(Haga said) she was looking for some old ladies to play cards,” Hatcher joked. “So I came.”

To learn more about the group, contact Haga at (434) 547-7068 or The Woodland at (434) 392-6106.