Senior News: The positives of gardening and other outdoor activities


    By Cheryl Wilkinson
    PREVIEW Columnist

    Gardening and other outdoor activities have long been proven to assist in rebuilding skills after surgery, accident, stroke or other misfortune, regardless of an individual’s age. With spring exploding all around us, those with a passion for being out of doors are flocking to their gardens, local trails and ranches to accomplish the early-season tasks so essential for a productive summer season.

    Now horticultural activities have also been shown to have a positive effect on “immunosenescence” in a pilot study reported in The Journals of Gerontology. This finding matters because immunosenescence — in which natural aging processes lead to increased chronic, low-grade inflammation — is one of the age-related factors that pose a serious risk to health for adults 60 and better. In part, this factor has repercussions for an individual’s ability to respond to infections and long-term immune memory — in other words, building a strong response to vaccinations.

    Contact with nature and the activities associated with being engaged in nature boosted immunity in adults age 60-85. As an added bonus, “exposure to green spaces is also associated with enhanced cognitive function, including prolonged attentiveness and better working memory performance.” 

    A five-minute warm-up stretch and breathing session followed by an hour of either indoor or outdoor gardening once a week provided positive results.

    You can learn about Archuleta Seniors Inc. programs here in Pagosa Springs, find resources for wellness and aging, and make reservations with The Community Café for take-out and Meals on Wheels at:

    VITA tax preparation

    Due to COVID-19, the IRS’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program will not be coming to Pagosa Springs to prepare federal and state income tax returns this year. 

    VITA will be preparing 2020 tax returns at no charge as part of the VITA program in Durango. Please register at: The gross income limit this tax season is $54,000. 

    Take-out meals continue at Senior Center

    In order to continue providing meals, the Pagosa Springs Senior Center is offering take-out hot meals and a salad with a drive-up option under the portico at the Ross Aragon Community Center. 

    These meals will be available Monday through Friday between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. There is a $4 suggested donation for lunch for those age 60 and better. If you need to have your meal delivered, please call (970) 264-2167 to see if this option is available in your area. 

    The cost per meal for the public age 59 and under is $8.50. The meals include a salad, hot meal, drink and dessert or bread. 

    Please call (970) 264-2167 to make a reservation for pickup. We are also continuing our Meals on Wheels program. 

    There will be no games, classes or presentations during this time. The staff will be available by phone. If you need to speak to a staff member, please call 264-2167.

    The Community
    Café menu

    Thursday, April 15 — Chef salad, fruit salad, baguette with butter, milk and German chocolate cake.

    Friday, April 16 — Cod, lentils, rice, cornbread with butter, milk and salad.

    Monday, April 19 — Shredded beef, potatoes and carrots, milk, salad and peach cobbler.

    Tuesday, April 20 — Chicken-fried chicken, cauliflower mashed, cream gravy, dinner roll with butter, milk, salad and pear.

    Wednesday, April 21 — Caprese salad, avocado-cucumber soup, milk, salad and strawberry shortcake.

    Thursday, April 22 — Pork loin, sweet potatoes, cornbread with butter, milk and salad.

    Reservations and cancellations are required. You can make a reservation at (970) 264-2167 by 9 a.m. the morning of the day you would like to drive through and pick up a meal. 

    For your convenience, you can make your reservations in advance or have a standing reservation on days you know you will always pick up. Please cancel if you cannot attend on your standing reservation days. We want to thank everyone for their support by observing our reservation policy. This helps ensure that everyone with reservations receives a meal and enables us to provide additional and healthier meals.

    Due to COVID-19, food supplies have been affected. Substitutions will be made accordingly.