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Seniors cuttin’ the rug at PACE

Bill Withers’ “Lean on Me” plays as participants in their upper 60s and 70s hit the floor in floor-length gowns and dashing suits.

Keeping with the song’s spirit of offering a shoulder to lean on, Centra PACE celebrated its fifth year of supporting elderly residents in the Heart of Virginia by offering medical and social opportunities.

Surrounded by cut-out golden stars, posters of Hollywood classic films and striking red carpets, participants celebrated the milestone in addition to holding their semi-annual senior prom, a celebration that stretched over Thursday and Friday from 10:30 a.m. to noon. Participants enjoyed music, dancing, a photo booth and other activities. Each participant wore a rose or carnation corsage designed by volunteer Barbara Hansen. Annie Dungee designed the elegant cover seats.

Mary Simonetta, community outreach manager, said a need developed to serve residents in the Farmville region. Centra PACE also has locations in Lynchburg and Gretna,

“We saw a need in the community to serve these folks,” Simonetta said.

Simonetta said the town and county was supportive of PACE, which moved into the area formerly occupied by the Longwood Village Shopping Center movie theater.

Simonetta said she wanted to clear a misconception that PACE only serves Farmville. She said the organization also serves residents in Cumberland, Buckingham Charlotte, Lunenburg, Nottoway and Appomattox.

Simonetta said PACE currently serves 78 clients, but have the capacity to serve many more.

“We’re always trying to help more seniors in the community,” Simonetta said.

PACE has a range of services for 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. PACE provides wheelchair-accessible transportation, access to meals, transportation to events, and offers resources for hospital, outpatient care, medical equipment and vision, hearing and dental care.

“It’s nice to know about PACE before you need it,” Simonetta said.

Perhaps most notably, PACE also organizes events that encourage elderly residents to come together, dance, enjoy fun and fellowship and have a good time.

Dancer Twila Collins wore a floor length, pink silky dress. She said she got the dress at a yard sale for the prom.

In a quote provided by PACE, Collins said the prom provided a beautiful and exciting atmosphere to enjoy fellowship and fun.

“It made me feel like I wasn’t sick anymore,” Collins said.

To learn more about PACE, call (434) 315-2890.