COLUMBUS – It is starting to be a sign of the times.

After a year of unused amentites, silent rooms and empty rooms, the Columbus Community Center has finally returned its clients to the building, much to the relief of both the elderly and the centre’s director, Cindy Branting.

“It’s great, it’s good to see them again, it’s good to see that they’re happy, they’re healthy,” she said.

“To me, that’s exactly why we’re here.”

Isolation can be a huge problem for the elderly and, in some cases, downright disastrous for their health.

It’s a problem that the pandemic has compounded repeatedly, turning it into an obstacle that can be very difficult to overcome.

“You have to kind of give your life a makeover, and just make it go and try to pass the time as fast as possible, which is quite touching,” said Luther Bakenhus.

He’s been a visitor to the center for 13 years, and during that time he hasn’t experienced a shutdown that has lasted as long as 2020.

With the reopening, he’s back to hanging out with his friends and enjoying the pool and food together.

“I would say dinner was better today than it had been in 13 months,” he said.

It’s a gentle reopening for the center, with just some of the regulars and returning activities.

Branting is hoping the worst of the pandemic is over, so the center and everything can get back to normal.