When are you old enough for a senior center?

A watercolor class is one of the many offerings available to those age 50 and up at the Westlake Center for Community Services

Senior centers offer our older citizens free or low-cost options for socialization, recreation, fitness and education, to name a few things. People who regularly partake in these offerings value them. Unfortunately, there are too many senior citizens who remain isolated in their homes and either don't know about our programs or don't feel compelled to come. 

There is a bit of a "that's for old people" mentality that can be a roadblock. I have heard this sentiment from many, including those in their late 80s. Some people define being a senior as "10 years older than whatever age I am." Why is this? Well, certainly our perspective of aging has a lot to do with it. If we envision aging as something negative and depressing, then we certainly don't want to put ourselves in that category.

The irony is, those who do attend senior center activities (or are regularly involved in activities through their churches, volunteering and participation in civic organizations), are precisely those who "age well." The more active and social you are, the healthier you are. 

People's vision of senior centers of the past are of folks sitting around playing bingo. Bingo is still popular among some ... but is something offered maybe once a month at area centers. The programs that are growing in popularity are fitness and wellness classes. The Westlake Community Services Department has several such offerings: yoga, chair yoga, Asian exercise, Tai Chi for arthritis, bocce, meditation, chair massage, diabetes self-management classes, holistic health series, walkers' groups and more. 

Our education classes are also quite popular. Especially classes on historical topics, book reviews, brain fitness, and any lunch-and-learn topic. (Let's face it, food is a good motivator.)

But the number one reason that seniors come to our center is for the social aspect. Here are a couple of upcoming social events that might get you in the door: 

CLAMBAKE: Join us on Wednesday, Oct. 5, at 12:30 p.m. (note this is a new time for us). Pianist Jack Hogue will "tickle the ivories" as you enjoy: 1 dozen clams, broth, sweet potato, corn-on-the cob, 1/2-chicken, coleslaw, roll/butter, coffee/tea and dessert. Come with a big appetite! The cost of the bake is $23, payable by Sept. 28. The entertainment is sponsored by Villa Camillus and dessert is sponsored by Our House. Call 899-3544 to RSVP.

BALLROOM DANCE: By popular request, ballroom dancing has become a monthly activity in Westlake. The next offering is Thursday, Oct. 6, from 2-4 p.m. The price of admission is $4, while musician John Kowalski delights with all of your favorite dance music, from tangos to polkas! Light refreshments are sponsored by Sprenger Hospice. No need to RSVP. Dust off your dancing shoes and come in for a spin (or just watch and meet some new folks).

Still not sure? Stop in, meet the staff and ask for a tour! Check out our monthly newsletter for a complete calendar of activities on the city of Westlake website:  www.cityofwestlake.org. You will find it by first clicking on the Government tab, and then to Community Services Department, and finally the Fifty Plus activities. (That's right ... I said "Fifty"!)

Lydia Gadd

I am the Director of the Community Services Department for the City of Westlake. I am also a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor.

Read More on Senior Living
Volume 8, Issue 17, Posted 11:07 AM, 09.07.2016