BOERNE, TX – Our senior population is growing: one in ten Texas is 65 or older, but nearly two in ten Kendall County residents are seniors.
That’s why the Kronkosky Place Rainbow Senior Center in Boerne is taking extra steps to make growing old easier and healthier with two new programs.
"Knowing that someone is going to eat from this garden,” senior Ralph Escobar says while watering plants. “That's what I like about the garden."
You can tell by his smile that Escobar has a green thumb.
"I was a farmer. I grew up as a farmer,” he says.
But over the years, he and other seniors stopped filling their plates with so much green.
"Most of us grew up just eating meat and potatoes and things like that,” Escobar says.
Later in life, the senior center says only 6% of seniors are eating enough vegetables every day.
The center’s new community garden will give them access to fresh, local produce.
"What we hope to accomplish is putting a produce store here at the center,” outreach coordinator Olivia Andreas says.
As the program grows, Andreas sends fresh veggies home to the Meals on Wheels participants.
"We send out recipes,” she says. “They really enjoyed that.”
Seniors like Escobar are volunteering their time in the garden.
“I also exercise so it's a benefit in both ways,” he says.
For seniors who aren’t so mobile, the center just celebrated the grand opening of its home-health closet.
"You can't get a walker and a wheelchair with Medicare,” Andreas says. “You can get one or the other."
But with the help of the closet, seniors don’t have to choose.
"You borrow it for free,” Andreas says. “You just come in. You don't need a prescription."
In fact, you don’t even need to be a senior. Anyone can borrow medical equipment and keep it for several months or just a weekend.
"Shower chairs, bedside commodes, walkers, wheelchairs - you name it,” Andreas lists some of the 150 items in the room.
It’s a big money saver. A wheelchair can cost $200. That could be a senior’s monthly grocery bill.
“It’s a dream come true for me,” Escobar says.
He says that comparison alone – food, or a wheelchair – highlights the need for the garden.
"If we want to stay healthy and we want to stay alive, we need to change our way of eating,” he says.
Like the old saying: if you build it, they will come – if you grow it, they will eat it.
If you need to borrow or donate medical equipment, or want to work in the garden, the senior center would love to hear from you.
It’s located at 17 Old San Antonio Road in Boerne. The phone number is (830) 249–2114.