Senior cookout serves up opportunity to reconnect

Jul 16, 2021

With chairs overlooking the beach under the shade from trees and with cookout fare sizzling on the grill, one of the songs playing in the background seemed particularly fitting.

“Cheeseburger in Paradise.’’

In this case, paradise was Jones Beach, where seniors ate, danced and socialized at the first Day at the Beach, held July 16.

The day-long event began with exercise classes and culminated with a cookout, complete with hot dogs, pasta salad, watermelon and, of course, cheeseburgers.

The celebration gave seniors to enjoy the outdoors and the company of their friends, said Nancy Miller, program coordinator for the Council on Aging. 

“It gives people a real sense of community and allows people to meet new people,’’ she said. “After Covid, people are craving it. People are ready to get out and have fun.’’

Fun was on the menu as seniors eagerly danced to such catchy numbers as “YMCA’’ and “The Cha Cha Slide,’’ making the festivities truly festive.

Senior center staff decided to sponsor the celebration because “it’s summer and we live near the beach,’’ said Council on Aging Director Amy DiPietro.

The setting elicited childhood memories for Jean Eaton. She and her sister would ride their bikes to the beach and stay “from morning until night,’’ she said.

Pat Lynam appreciated the chance to “see our friends and enjoy the day outside.’’ After a stretch of gloomy weather, she was happy that “the sun is shining, Gardens need the sun.’’

Dartmouth Police Officer Rich Medeiros, who described himself as “the oldest cop in Dartmouth,’’ said that when he has free time in his schedule, he likes to “come to town functions, mix with the seniors and say hello to my friends.’’

“I think it’s fabulous,’’ Michelle Souza said. “I love seeing everybody out.’’

“How can you not like it?’’ Joan Blanchett asked. “It’s a beautiful spot.’’

Some of the seniors did not realize that Jones Beach was just a few blocks away from the senior center, Miller said. A shuttle transported seniors to and from the outing from the center.

The turnout exceeded expectations, DiPietro said. “Everybody was happy,’’ she said. “It’s always nice to see everybody smiling.’’