NORTH HARMONY – Maintaining brain health is a key to aging well, and area residents got a chance to sharpen their minds during an event that tested their knowledge of facts and information thanks to the United Senior Council of Chautauqua.
Area seniors gathered at the North Harmony Senior Center on Thursday to compete for cash prizes in a trivia competition.
The competition pitted eight teams, consisting of up to three seniors, against each other in three rounds of 10 questions each. The questions ranged in difficulty based on the number of parts to be answered, and were worth between 10 and 50 points. Three cash prizes, $50, $75 and $100, were available to the top scorers. The seniors were also treated to snacks and refreshments as well as the option to partake in a 50/50 drawing.
According to Theresa Perrin, life-enrichment director for Emeritus, the United Senior Council is always looking for ways to engage seniors in both educational and fun events. One of the reasons the event is held is to try to get seniors involved and to grow the United Senior Council throughout the county.
“Seniors always think they know everything – and they do have a wealth of knowledge,” said Perrin. “It was nice to get everybody together for an afternoon of fun and friendly competition.”
Steve Saulsgiver, Sally Carlson and Earl Ferry, of team presidents of North Harmony, are the winners of this year’s Senior Trivia Day. The North Harmony Seniors team won for the second consecutive year. According to Saulsgiver, the event is a way for seniors to get together and have fun by doing something different in an enjoyable way. Carlson said she felt that the questions weren’t ones that you could have studied for. And, Ferry said that he never would have guessed that his team would win again this year.
Second place winner of $75 was the Mayville Trio and in third place $50 was awarded to Lords and Enlow. Other team names included: The Jamestown Seniors, The Harmony Hopefuls, Don and Arlene, Rocker Nurses and The Village Idiots.
The seniors were asked questions based on local history as well as popular culture. One question that got the teams laughing and joking was, “What country is the happiest in the world?” to which a woman responded, “Not North Korea.” The seniors were also asked questions such as: “How was Chautauqua originally spelled,” “Before Barack Obama took office, what was the average price of unleaded gas?” “What was the price of The Post-Journal in 1946?” and “Which president named French Creek?”
Dennis Webster, WJTN radio host, acted as question reader and host of this year’s Senior Trivia Day. Webster provided factual information and satirical dialogue throughout the event. He had such a good time, he said, that he would go again next year.
“It’s a very exciting and engaging event, and the spirit of these so-called senior citizens is extraordinary,” said Webster. “They are really very youthful, and they know how to compete in a fun way – so it’s a joy to be up there asking the questions.”
RECOGNITION OF SERVICE
Chautauqua County Executive Greg Edwards acted a guest question reader at the event. Edwards was also in attendance to help Mary Ann Spanos, director of the Office for the Aging, present awards to volunteers, local senior organizations and businesses.
“I’m thrilled to be here, and I’m glad that the tests I have to do on a daily basis aren’t anything like the trivia questions,” said Edwards. “Mary Ann Spanos has done such an awesome job as Office For the Aging director. She has accomplished so much, but virtually none of it would be possible without you, the volunteers, that provide a lot of the hands-on services that folks need. …We’ve streamlined our operations and merged our departments, all the while, services going to seniors has quadrupled and services to veterans has also quadrupled. I’m talking about the number of people being served.”
According to Spanos, the award ceremony was held to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Office for the Aging, the fact that May is Older American’s Month and to recognize all the gifts that older residents bring to the community. Office of the Aging, she said, is the best example of government working with people.
“We are an older community and people want to stay in their homes in the community to be a part of it,” said Spanos. “But, they often need help, and they now have the community family to pick up and help out. … In this day and age we can’t do it without all of you wonderful people.”