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Fulton County helping seniors stay young at heart

By Kalin Thomas Contributing Writer | 5/3/2013, noon
Beverly Fountaine is stepping lively in her line dancing class at the H.J.C. Bowden Senior Multipurpose Facility (Bowden).
Andrea Ruffin (foreground) busts a move at H.J.C. Bowden Senior Multipurpose Facility. She says dancing and other activities at centers like Bowden keep seniors active. (Photo by Vincent Christie).

EAST POINT -- Beverly Fountaine is stepping lively in her line dancing class at the H.J.C. Bowden Senior Multipurpose Facility (Bowden).

The 70-year-old retired school teacher hangs out at the facility from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. every weekday.

“I love this center. It’s an outlet for anything you want to do. I do line dancing, I take art classes, I eat here for only $3, I go on field trips and I’ve made a lot of new friends,” exclaimed Fountaine.

“I retired because I have friends who have died or have MS or Parkinson’s Disease and all they did was work their whole lives and now they can’t do anything. So coming here every day and exercising and being with friends is worth more than making money,” she added.

According to AARP, a senior is anyone age 55 or older. And a study by the Atlanta Regional Commission notes that by the year 2030, one out of five metro Atlantans will be over the age of 60.

So as the nation celebrates Older Americans Month, Fulton County is helping its aging population stay active and young at heart.

“We have our neighborhood senior centers and senior multipurpose facilities. They’re one stop shops for land fitness, aqua fitness, art classes, computer classes, recreational activities and cafeterias which provide breakfast and lunch,” said Sarah Hilton, division manager for the Fulton County Office of Aging.

One of the most popular classes at Bowden is the Intermediate Line Dancing class, which 69-year-old Glenda Gamblin has been teaching for 11 years.

“Dance is good for blood pressure and blood sugar. And it’s a lot more fun than doing the treadmill. The Gamblin Dancers perform all over the city and we’re always happy because nobody has more fun than us,” laughed Gamblin.

Sixty-one-year-old Andrea Ruffin is a Gamblin Dancer and a Bowden Soul Strutter.

“It’s really exciting. Line dance is one of those things that keeps people and their memories active. But I also enjoy other classes here like calligraphy and greeting card making,” said Ruffin.

Line dancer Barbara Price agrees. The 70-something retired nurse can also be found at Bowden every weekday.

“I come because of all the activities and you meet so many new friends. It’s a great atmosphere. Whatever you want to do, we got it here and it’s all free,” exclaimed Price.