BURLINGTON, Vt. – Despite the pandemic, the Heineburg Community Senior Center found a safe way to keep the tradition of celebrating its 90-and-older community members going strong.

The 11th Annual ‘Ninety Plus’ Celebration, held this year in the parking lot, featured a video tribute to seniors’ families. The strong turnout was a sure sign that Burlington seniors are aging well, said Gail Moreau, the center’s board president.

“The 90-plus group is getting larger and larger this year,” Moreau said. “When we first started this event, we had six. I think at last count, we had 40 people.”

In a year defined by uncertainty and isolation, it was particularly important for organizers to let seniors know they’re supported through it all.

“We’re incredibly concerned about isolation and loneliness, and it’s so important to keep that feeling of connectedness, especially in our center,” said Executive Director Beth Hammond. “The show must go on, and we’re going to get that done together.”

Sylvia Holden is a regular at the center’s yoga class, but it’s been awhile since she’s been able to catch up with everyone. She was grateful to have the opportunity.

“It’s just splendid to get us together and to learn about each other, it’s been a long year,” Holden said. “I’ve met friends tonight I haven’t seen since March.”

Ann Arms, another regular at the senior center, said events like this showcase the kindness of volunteers and the community.

“I was born in Brooklyn, and I married a Vermonter,” Arms said. “I’ve never regretted coming here, because it’s a wonderful life.”

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