Community club in LaSalle gets anglophone seniors out of isolation

From line dancing to yoga, people who go to the D&D 50+ Centre in LaSalle say it's the only one of its kind for English speakers in the neighbourhood.

LaSalle D&D 50+ Centre holds activities, gatherings to give seniors in the community a wider social network

Rae Phillips says taking part in the centre's mini art club keeps her mentally sharp. (CBC)

When Rae Phillips first moved to LaSalle from Saint-Lambert to be closer to her daughter's family, she had very few friends in the area.

She was worried about being isolated, especially since she describes her French as "horrible."

It wasn't long before she discovered the Lasalle D&D 50+ Centre.

With more than 200 members, the centre is helping Phillips expand her social network.

"I haven't been living in LaSalle that long and its one way of meeting people of your vintage in the town," she said while
painting a water colour.

"I could easily be isolated. I don't mind staying home but it's good for me to get out. And I don't have to worry about my Frenglish. Most the ladies here are English."

Phillips began with yoga, but now spends most of her time chatting with friends in her mini art club.

She says the centre keeps her sharp mentally and physically.

"I come Wednesday for weights and strength with music, if I'm up to it so we don't have granny-flabbies, as my granddaughter calls it," she said with a laugh.

Two members of the LaSalle D&D 50+ Centre play a game of Bingo. Some say the centre gives them an outlet to meet other English-speaking people in the neighbourhood and stay active. (CBC)
The D&D 50+ Centre shares space with the legion at the corner of Bouvier Street and Shevchenko Boulevard. Twice a week, it's a buzz of activity.

"We love it here. It gives us an outlet," said Noreen Birdgenaw.

"We play crib and cards with each other and other people. I take many courses here — chair yoga, line dancing and classical stretch. It makes my day."

The centre's coordinator says senior isolation is something to be concerned about.

"When a senior has a social network it prevents premature placement and therefore premature death," said Diane Doonan.

"A senior who is isolated and doesn't have a social network loses hope. So the hairdresser goes, the teeth, the dentist goes, eating properly goes and slowly but surely there's a decline in health as a result and then premature placement as a result, and premature death."

Doonan says the centre is always trying to find more seniors who might be alone. She says it is the only club of its kind serving the LaSalle area's anglophone community.

She says D&D 50+ even has volunteers to check in on seniors throughout the week to make sure they are OK.

For more information on the centre, contact Dorothy Gleason at 438-882-7771 or email