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It's party time for Prince Edward Community Care

Start with chicken dinner, add a touch of nostalgia, some tips on aging gracefully and finally some upbeat country music and you have the recipe for The Prince Edward County Community Care for Senior Association's 25th anniversary party.

The public celebration will take place at 6 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 24 at the Prince Edward Community Centre in Picton.

The evening is billed as 25 Years of "Care in the Community," Looking ahead to at least 25 more..

"We're going to celebrate the past. But we're not stuck there," says the association's executive director, Debbie Moynes.

Guest speaker Dr. Bill Gekoski, who retired this year as professor of psychology at Queen's University in Kingston, will speak on the topic, The Secret of Successful Aging, appealing to young and not-so-young alike. This is a return engagement for Dr. Gekoski, who spoke to a Community Care for Seniors dinner 20 years ago on the same topic. His speech of April, 1982 was reported in the local newspaper, with an accompanying picture.

That story and photo will be among the clippings about Community Care's activities over 25 years on display at the dinner. There are scrapbooks for each of the 25 years, as well as photographs, some donated by volunteers and former board members.

In the 20 intervening years since his first speech to a Community Care audience, Dr. Gekoski has been researching the questions of how aging and older people are perceived, and of what factors are important to positive adjustment to aging.

He's currently in a joint research program exploring the attitudes of people of different ages towards community care versus institutional care for older adults.

In those 25 years, Community Care has grown from a handful of volunteers with one part-time paid staff person to a busy storefront operation with a full-time staff of four and more than 500 volunteers across the county. It has a 12-member board of directors, who are also volunteers, and offers a wide range of programs from assistance with household tasks to Meals on Wheels.

After-dinner entertainment will be provided by the band Loose Ends, featuring singer-guitarist Renie Thompson and guest singer and guitarist Jon Milford. Other band members include Edith Rutter, Annette McIntosh, Bonnie McIntosh and Mary Anne Dunne.

The group plays classic country music from the Patsy Cline, Kitty Wells, Johnny Cash, Hank Snow era. They performed to a sell-out audience at the county's first Classic Country Jamboree in Milford in July and encourage their listeners to join in.

"I'm very pleased to be doing this," says Thompson, a health care worker who says she's aware of Community Care's service to seniors.

"I have no doubt that with the people I have with me, we'll have a great time."

Tickets are $15 and may be purchased at the Prince Edward Community Care office in The Armoury, 206 Main St., Picton until Oct. 18. For more information, call 476-7493 or click on Prince Edward Community Care's website, for an invitation. 476-7493