Senior Centers have long been overlooked as merely a place for "old" people. I have been in many senior centers in Idaho and can tell you that the word "old" does not quite capture the essence of any senior center. I can attest that not only do young people frequent these establishments, but these centers are for the young at heart.
I can also say I have been in many homes with "old" people talking about what life used to be like, the new aches that are creeping up, and the many things they wish they could do. There is a time for this when mobility is difficult and health starts to decline. However, I find that the friendships, volunteerism, and activities keep all ages young, vibrant, and alive. Facilities that offer many activities attract active middle-agers and allow the "wisdom of the time" to be shared and cherished. If there is one thing that keeps people alive and young, I must argue that it is the relationships we have with each other.
We may call it old-fashioned, but I have not had a lunch in a single senior center that has not stood together for The Pledge of Allegiance before a meal and brought meals to those that cannot stand in line. Some regulars may be weak, but they were strong enough to get up, get dressed, and make it for lunch. Why?- because it keeps them youthful. Most centers offer exercise, bingo, cards, and food, but all centers have volunteers who take their time to take care of the community. All centers have readily available resources on programs to help the elderly, but these elderly are also the first ones to stand up to pitch in. They know what needs to be done, have the know-how, and finish the job. Old-fashioned or fashionably-awesome?
I personally have been blessed by the relationships I have built from each facility I walk in. I am amazed at the wisdom, talent, history, and stories. My children are always welcomed with open arms and rarely leave without saying, "Mom, did you hear..." or "can I help with..." So, these centers may be filled with the "old-fashioned" in theory, but exercise caution before putting these "old dogs" to rest. These older generations have the thought, grit, and heart to get tasks accomplished. These activities keep the elder generations young. If you have not been in a senior center in your neck of the woods, you are most likely missing out. I was for years before I found out that values will stand the test of time and my elders have the gnash to take care of business. Old-fashioned or not, the world needs a little bit more. As always, feel free to contact me directly with questions at: 208-591-0527. (Brandie Garltiz, Community Health Care Blogger).