The James F. McGuire Memorial Senior Center in Northvale, NJ

"One of the Nicest Places in America"

The James F. McGuire Memorial Senior Center has “breathed new life” into many of its residents, they say. It truly is a haven of kindness.

Camp Northvale kids spending time with the senior citizens. (Credit: Pam Carpanini)

The James F. McGuire Memorial Senior Center is one of the “Nicest Places in America” because it welcomes all senior citizens to an inviting, friendly, and loving establishment for them to gather and enjoy themselves.

Stories About The James F. McGuire Memorial Senior Center

I would like to take this opportunity to introduce myself. My name is Pam Carpanini and I am the director of The James F. McGuire Memorial Senior Center. I have been in this position for two years, due to the unfortunate passing of the previous director. The past two years have been a dream come true for me personally. I have been blessed with numerous senior citizens from the Bergen County area. They are a group of loving, compassionate and appreciative individuals.

Residents crafting together. (Credit: Pam Carpanini)

I have been a Northvale resident all of my life. It is a quaint town where its residents are family-oriented and always come together as a community — especially, if a misfortunate situation should arise.

The James F. McGuire Memorial Center was established in 1980 by James F. McGuire, who was a Northvale resident. His intention was to create an establishment where senior citizens could gather and enjoy themselves with various activities offered — and that is exactly what still exists today! Here are just a few of the various things we provide:

— Morning “chit chat”: Every morning, complimentary coffee and refreshments are provided. The residents gather around and enjoy their morning cup of coffee with each other, while socializing, doing crossword puzzles and the infamous Sudoku. Then they head off to the dining room for their daily lunch.

— Crocheting for a Cause Every Monday morning is our Crochet Club: This club is comprised of many gifted and talented ladies who handcraft beautiful afghans, baby blankets, shawls, hats, and scarves. These items are then donated to various organizations such as: the Veterans Home, nursing homes, homeless shelters, hospitals and churches. This skill is definitely one to be admired. I am so proud of these ladies for giving their time and talents to be shared with those in need.

— Let us Take the Wheel: Another service we offer is transportation utilizing our senior center van. Our van takes our senior citizens to and from doctor appointments, grocery shopping and to K-Mart. They thoroughly enjoy and appreciate being able to get to various places in which they may not be able to do so themselves.

— Celebrations Throughout the year: We celebrate all holidays. Catered food items, desserts and a DJ are also included. To witness the senior citizens up and on their feet dancing and singing makes my heart just smile. In fact, they often tell me that I have “breathed life into them again.” What a compliment and honor to receive.

Boo! (Credit: Pam Carpanini)
Merry Christmas! (Credit: Pam Carpanini)
Let’s dance! (Credit: Pam Carpanini)

— Matinee Movies: Complimentary movies are shown every Tuesday along with refreshments. I try my best to treat my seniors as often as possible — they so deserve it! I realize they are all on a fixed income and it brings me true pleasure when I can offer something to them at no charge.

— Fit & Fabulous: Various exercise programs are offered in which they take part in. Keeping them fit by stretching and moving helps them tremendously.

— Games Galore We also have a game room where at any given time, you will see ping-pong being played, Wii Bowling, Maj Jong, playing cards and puzzle making.

— Relax & Read a Good Book: Our tranquil in-house library room also gets utilized for taking in some reading and quiet time.

— Camp Northvale: For many years, students grades three through seven from the Northvale Public School attend Camp Northvale in the summer. These students join the senior citizens for a fun-filled morning of Bingo. They enjoy playing with them and interacting with them. They are extremely respectful and the seniors thoroughly enjoy their company. We are once again participating on July 11th. We are all looking forward to it.

— Emergency Shelter Facility: Our senior center is also utilized during emergency/catastrophic situations. A few years ago, when Hurricane Sandy hit, many people were without power. They were able to come to the center (where we have a generator), to eat, sleep and charge their cell phones. I recall two years ago that one of my members who suffered from breathing problems had lost power in his home. It was an extremely hot and humid day and it affected his breathing immensely. He contacted us and was transported here with his oxygen tank. Fortunately, we had power and he was kept cool and comfortable. I remember spending time with him, having wonderful conversations and had dinner for him. Needless to say, he was so grateful and appreciative.

— Stay Well: Each month, a podiatrist visits our facility and provides his service to our seniors. A registered nurse also provides a blood-pressure check for them as well. This is a very convenient service we offer.

— Guest Speakers: Throughout the year, various guest speakers provide informative presentations. Such as: medical/surgical options, nursing care facilities, legal advice, etc.

— Donations: I would also like to make mention which I think is very worthy, of substantial, monetary donations that have been made to the center with the unfortunate passing of members. Not only am I extremely grateful for these contributions, but I feel it demonstrates their true love and passion for this wonderful establishment. Since we are not state funded and have to rely on a very limited budget, therefore receiving donations helps us to continue offering as much as possible to our senior citizens.

— Monthly Newsletter: Each month, all members receive our monthly newsletter entitled “The McGuire Inquirer.” I personally put the newsletter together, which includes all of our activities, special events/speakers, daily lunch menu, movie schedule, etc.

If ever you are in Northvale, please feel free to come and visit us! Our doors are always open and you are always welcome!