Spring 2017
P. 1

Vol.19, No.1
Senior Centers today
Pages 4 & 5
Your Link To Community Resources
A Publication of The Area Agency on Aging 1-B Spring 2017
Serving the counties of Livingston, Macomb, Monroe, Oakland, St.Clair and Washtenaw
Romance after 50
Discover your inventive spirit
Oakland county resident Ken Johnson grew up in Detroit and was eight years old in 1967 when racial tensions erupted into a historic riot. But the boy discovered a way to escape the craziness of that time. Johnson and his two younger siblings immersed themselves into the world of their imagination.The trio became captivated by games of every kind, playing for hours on end. Once rules were mastered, they enhanced games like Monopoly and Life with elements that made play even more exciting. For Ken, this evolved into the art of invention.
For the first time in her life, at age 65, Linda Mahey walked into a senior center and played BINGO. “G–as in Gregg Hissong–was nestled among the participants. “I thought he was nice- looking and very pleasant,” Linda said. She approached him, they talked and she left with his phone number for a future coffee date. Her quick thinking led to a nurturing relationship. “We
get along really well and have similar interests,” said Gregg. “Linda is nice to be around.”
Linda reflected, “Prior to dating Gregg, I never tried dating through online dating sites. I was very leery of that idea. Instead, I would meet people at work or through friends and we’d go out.” But even then Linda didn’t find anyone she connected with in terms of values that she holds dear, until she found Gregg.
Finding someone special to share your life has its challenges. However, connecting with others at a senior center is a good way to make friends or maybe even a match. In an effort to help older adults bridge these social connections, “speed dating” events were held last fall at three area senior centers. The series was sponsored
by SameAddress, a trusted service, providing over 40 in-home services that support older adults who choose
Linda and Gregg met over a game of BINGO.
to age at home. Garry Cole, SameAddressTM Vice President of Sales and Marketing said, “Senior centers were a good venue for these events because they have a built-in group of people who are comfortable in their facility, and with one another.”
Here’s how speed dating works: Men and women, age 50+ pre-register for the event to reserve a spot. Upon arrival, participants fill out a name tag and receive a program containing a list of sample questions to ask. Tables
with a chair on either side are set up
continued on page 2
Johnson created his first baseball board game at age twelve, then spent subsequent years fine-tuning it with his siblings. At age 19, he boldly contacted Parker Brothers and Milton Bradley to see if they could mass produce his invention. No bites, but he did make a connection. “That man from Chicago must have seen something in me. He took me under his wing and became my mentor,” Johnson said. “He helped me create samples.”
With a dozen prototypes in hand, Johnson boldly went to the K-Mart Corporation in Troy and waited patiently to talk with one of their buyers. “I had no presentation or sales sheet prepared, but the buyer I saw must have seen something that inspired him to help me,” said Johnson. And with that, in 1981, Johnson’s dream of launching his game became reality.
But the celebration was short-lived. “At the end of the first six month sales term, the buyer called and told me the game wasn’t performing well.” Johnson returned to the drawing board. Without a college degree, he learned by doing and reading. Whatever he didn’t discover
Ken Johnson, inventor and mentor.
on his own, he learned by reaching out to experts. Johnson took a few steps back before he could move forward again, but he pushed on and didn’t give up.
While regrouping his efforts, his sister Phyllis dropped by with a card game called Uno, which is similar to the card game Crazy Eights. Having refined his ‘inventing games’ skills growing up, Johnson created a card game called Phase 10, similar to Rummy, but with ten specific card groupings that must be completed in order to win.
continued on page 2
Inside This Issue
Six Stay Healthy Activities
for Seniors ......................................3
What’s Going on at Your
Senior Center? ..........................4 & 5
New Senior Dining
Program/Ask the Expert ..................6
Relief for Caregivers........................7
Area Agency on Aging 1-B
29100 Northwestern Hwy., Suite 400 Southfield, MI 48034

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