Josephine Purevich stays connected to the community as site manager of the Hebron Senior Center by keeping the place humming with activities and helping fellow seniors feel at home.
Purevich coordinates speakers and health awareness events along with games, Meals on Wheels lunches and the annual Christmas party.
“The center is a place to socialize, play different style cards, games, Bingo,” she said. “We have speakers in to discuss disease awareness and elderly nutrition.”
Beyond blood sugar and blood pressure monitoring, Purevich looks to boost senior health by bringing yoga to the center after seeing the funny side of exercise. Seniors were recently exposed to laughing yoga, which combines laughter and breathing, after Triad sponsored an expert from Indianapolis. While she is still on the hunt for a laughing yoga expert, she has found an RN to lead yoga, which can be done seated.
She has organized trips over the years – from Chicago’s Navy Pier to Essenhaus Restaurant in Middlebury – but she emphasizes that the daily interactions and friendships formed are what matters.
“People come and go. Some can’t afford the meals, so I don’t push them to eat. But I specify for them to come and socialize,” she said. “I enjoy being out with the seniors. If they can’t make it, I will deliver meals to them. If they don’t have transportation, I will pick them up or take them home because I know they like to come.”
While she has run the Hebron site for the last four or five years, Purevich has been a part of the Porter County Aging and Community Services team for 21 years. She has been a “jack-of-all-trades” having had a hand in the energy assistance, senior nutrition and former Lifeline programs before settling in at Hebron.
In the past, Purevich has worked as a cashier, baby sitter and housekeeper often heading to work when her husband, Alex Jr., faced health issues in order to help support her family. She found her way to PCACS through a work assistance program after a friend found employment through that route.
“I went to the program at 60 years old and attended school in the evenings for six weeks along with a 72-year-old. I thought if they can help a retired 72-year-old find a full-time job, I am determined to get a job for myself.”
For today, Purevich doesn’t see herself anywhere else besides among her fellow seniors at the center.
“I lost my husband five years ago. I don’t like the idea of sitting at home. I enjoy being with the people here. I am friends with the seniors,” she said.
“I don’t want to see seniors leaving the center. Some say they don’t cook for themselves. I’ll go pick them up. It’s the idea that I want to see them happy and get them out of the house. If they don’t want to eat, come and socialize, that’s the main thing, that’s what the center is here for.”
For more information or to receive a copy of the PCACS newsletter, contact Executive Director Bruce Lindner at 464-9736 or firstname.lastname@example.org.