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Seniors breaking out of social isolation to play parking lot bingo

Fountain Valley Senior Center invites all seniors
Posted at 4:04 PM, Aug 12, 2020

FOUNTAIN — Life during the last few months has been tough for many of our seniors. It's mainly because they are isolated and vulnerable to the impacts of the coronavirus. News5 learned work is being done to get them out of the house and back to having fun by playing parking lot bingo.

Fountain Valley Senior Center needed approval from county health officials, a gaming license, and protocols to make sure everyone who comes out feels safe. With all of those things taken care of, seniors are now playing parking lot bingo.

"We will start off game number one. It's your blue cards," said the bingo caller as he broadcasted over the car radios of seniors parked in the senior center parking lot.

"I wanted to get out of the house. I don't know what it's going to be like, but I'm looking forward to doing something besides sitting in the house," said Cindy Brasche, who was playing parking lot bingo for the first time.

"Your first number is under the G row. G58," said the bingo caller.

"It's just wonderful. It is uplifting," said parking lot bingo player Lisa Deger. "Getting out of the house and away from the husband you know? Having my time."

Having all these seniors parked safely and tuned into the bingo caller on their radio is the result of months of planning by leaders of Fountain Valley Senior Center.

"We have been closed since March 17th and we're just trying to find innovative ways to bring the seniors back in a safe way so that they don't suffer from social isolation," said Fountain Valley Senior Center Executive Director Jolene Hausman.

Seniors News5 talked to say because of the coronavirus, parking lot bingo is the first event they've been able to attend in months.

"It means a lot. They've gone through a lot of work to do this and I really appreciate that," said Barbara Tatum, who showed up to play parking lot bingo.

"You go through ups and downs. You've got bad days, you've got good days. This is a lifter upper. I'm serious," said Deger. "You see friends. You can talk to friends. You can play a game, which is always fun."

By honking their horns and flashing their headlights, people playing parking lot bingo signal they are a winner. It means they have a bingo.

"That's what I like! Winning some money, even if it's just $5 or $10. It's just fun," said Brasche.

"I hope every week it gives them a reason to get out beyond grocery shopping and going to the doctor. It gives them something to look forward to that's fun and engaging and not just for medical necessity," said Hausman.

Fountain Valley Senior Center says it has more parking lot bingo days planned in the future and seniors from across southern Colorado are invited.

For more information on parking lot bingo visit:

fvscenter.org

https://humanservices.elpasoco.com/fountain-valley-senior-center/

Or call: 719-600-2644