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The Villages
Thursday, April 18, 2024

Don’t take poker away from residents who need it most

To the Editor:

My husband and I have been residents of The Villages for over 22 years and have enjoyed many of the amenities. My husband can no longer walk or stand due to MS which diminishes his ability to participate in the “Active Living” pursuits enjoyed by most residents. His sole activity is participating in the Texas Hold-Em games at the various rec centers.
These games are literally a lifesaver for many of our residents as it allows them to meet and talk with others and to enjoy their lives. Anyone who has attended these games can witness this. Many of the players have some medical issues which prevent them from playing golf or pickleball or even billiards. They come together in a friendly environment where they help each other. For example, Steve cannot see well, nor can he deal cards. Someone at the table always helps him. He loves the camaraderie and looks forward to meeting his friends.
When we first moved to The Villages, I pursued “reasonable accommodations“ on the golf courses and was met with great opposition by the “management.” Now, thousands of players are able to access the golf courses when they have limited ability to walk. As a group, many of the disabled community also had to fight to get lifts in the pools. Everything for those with some limited physical ability has been a fight
Now, we are facing a fight to be able to use the recreation centers for a friendly, legal game of poker. Will bingo, mahjongg and other games be next.
While those of you reading this may not care about having a safe, non-physical activity to occupy your days, there is a huge group of both men and women who need these games to continue. They need camaraderie and the stimulation of meeting with friends to make their days worthwhile.
Don’t take this away from them.

Barbara Gaines
Village of Calumet Grove


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