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Senior Centers are Changing Lives

Article submitted by Cheryl Adamson, Program Administrator at Malley Senior Recreation Center. The Senior Center is located at 3380 S. Lincoln Street in Englewood, Colorado.
Website: Malley Senior Recreation Center – CLICK HERE

Seniors centers change lives and have been for years. “Back in the day” centers filled the need as a place for the “older” person to go and play Bingo, cards and socialize outside of the home. A place to go to spend your time. That is true today too, however, in the 21st century senior centers have become much more.

A person will join a center for many various reasons. Maybe they recently retired, a friend invited them along, they were asked to volunteer, lost their spouse or simply drove by, stepped through the doors and was impressed. Whatever the reason their lives may have just changed.

How? What could possibly happen in a senior center you ask? Well, the list actually is quite long. For one person it may be the friendly, knowledge, helpful, best at giving customer service staff that says “Hi Jim” or “How are you feeling today Nancy?” That may be all the person needs in their life, just to be greeted by their name and give a little special attention. For the next person it is finding a new activity such as Pickle Ball. They are moving their body in new ways, exercising, competing, and connecting eye and hand coordination. Then for another, it could be learning piano, painting in watercolors, Yoga, Bridge or Spanish. They are learning something they have always wanted to, but there was not the opportunity before, they did not have the time “back then”, or their parents simply did not allow them as a child. A member expressed her excitement recently about attaining her lifetime goal of becoming a painter and displaying her art. At the Malley Center members have gained confidence by displaying their art on the art wall or entering pieces into the annual Art Exhibit event for the first time.

As a person ages life changes in ways that are unforeseen. It is “a fact of life” that the older population experience loss as they age. Whether it be a spouse or friends, health or functions of the body. I have seen firsthand how after attending fitness classes a participant has gained strength and confidence to walk without their cane or walker. I have heard a number of times how they are off many of their medications, sleeping better, lost weight, or have improved their balance all while having a blast. Another change in life for seniors is losing their freedom to drive. A great feature of Senior Centers is the offering of excursions and outings, an opportunity to get out-and-about without the hassle of driving themselves. Here is Colorado the list of where to go and what to do is virtually unlimited. There are themed restaurants, hiking in the national forest, skiing down the slopes, museums, teas, theater, tours, ball games and even the courageousness of white water rafting. A group trip offers lifelong learning, new experiences and most of all time with friends.

Senior Centers do not stop there. They are a source of information. Through educational programs, members can increase their understanding of what resources are out there for them. There can come a time when life changes and families do not know where to start with finding help. The staff at Centers have knowledge in resources such as housing, lawyers, nutritional meal programs, realtors, caregivers and financial help. A staff member at Malley a few years back assisted a member in successfully finding low-income housing. The members says, “It transformed my life!”

If you were to pole members of a senior center, I believe above all other ways a Senior Center changes lives it would through finding friendships. No matter what the activity is a person chooses to do at a Center, they have met someone who enjoys the same things as them. These friends are now who you will go to lunch with, celebrate birthdays with, get a needed hug from or a call in the evening wondering why you weren’t in class that day. A gentleman shared recently, “I’ve made more sincere friendships here since I retired 5 months ago than I did for the 40 years I worked.” Plus, you just never know, friendships have been known to blossom into dating and marriages too.

Senior centers change lives through the feeling that you belong. Pretty much like the popular TV show’s tagline in the 1980’s, “Cheers, where everyone knows your name.”
Search for Senior Centers in the Denver – CLICK HERE
Tags: Senior Centers, Senior Recreation Center, Englewood, Colorado, Denver

Posted March 2017 on