Where nobody's lonely: For 25 years, centre has been keeping seniors active and healthy

The Seniors Active Living Centre in Charlottetown is celebrating its 25th anniversary this week.

'It’s a good way to spend time rather than sitting at home watching TV'

The Seniors Active Living Centre in Charlottetown is celebrating its 25th anniversary. (Matt Rainnie/CBC)

Olive Bryanton says it's heartwarming to look around the Seniors Active Living Centre and see people playing cards, laughing and making friends.

"It means there's a lot of people not sitting at home being lonely, no one to talk to and nothing to do," she said.

The centre is celebrating its 25th anniversary this week. Bryanton helped found the centre when it opened in the Oak Tree mall in Charlottetown, then moved to the Kwik Kopy building and then to the Bell Aliant Centre, where it has been since about 2005.

Scott MacDonald, the current president of the Seniors Active Living Centre, and Olive Bryanton, one of the founders, are excited to celebrate the centre's 25th anniversary. (Matt Rainnie/CBC)

"It's so exciting to see the centre still being very viable, very active, lots of new ideas coming in," Bryanton said.

The centre hosts card games, potlucks, ceilidhs and other activities for hundreds of seniors. Linda Schneider said she comes as often as she can.

"My husband teases me that I should just bring my sleeping bag," she said. "It has given me a lot of new friends."

A study in the publication American Psychologist highlights the health benefits of making social connections. It says suffering from loneliness is comparable to the risk of smoking up to 15 cigarettes a day.

On some days, as many as 24 tables are set up for card games at the Seniors Active Living Centre in Charlottetown. (Matt Rainnie/CBC)

Scott MacDonald, president of the Seniors Active Living Centre, said card games are a good way to foster those social connections. He said they have as many as 24 tables set up for bridge on Mondays.

"They pay two dollars to play bridge and the lunch is included. It's a pretty sweet deal."

Bruce Coulson, 99, says he'd rather go to the Seniors Active Living Centre than sit at home at watch TV. (Matt Rainnie/CBC)

Bruce Coulson, 99, has been a member for 14 years. He's been trying to convince his friends to join as well.

"I tell them it's a good way to spend time rather than sitting at home watching TV. It would keep them more active."

As part of its 25th anniversary celebration, the centre is holding a yard sale on Saturday and an open house June 14.

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With files from Island Morning