Senior Centers Keep Members Active and Sharp
Caregivers discover a multitude of community resources for their aging parents right at their fingertips.
You can find Arlene Wilbur at the Gulfport Multipurpose Senior Center every day except Wednesday. The 93-year-old often volunteers at the reception desk answering the phone. Wilbur socializes in the "Chat Room" on Fridays where members discuss different topics and solve riddles to keep their minds sharp. She also attends a diabetes support group on Mondays.
Maggie Martin, 66, also volunteers at the reception desk and said she frequently observes people in their 50s and 60s bring their parents to the senior center and find out there is something for them as well. They are thrilled to know that they, too, can benefit from the state-of-the-art fitness center, she said.
And Martin added, “Younger seniors are surprised to see all that is offered. Fun, food and friendship — what a vibrant place.”
Wilbur said that she wouldn’t be around if it weren’t for the senior center. “It keeps my mind going,” she said.
Martin agrees. It takes some sharpness to play bridge, mahjong, and participate in computer and language classes.
Sue Frank, supervisor at the senior center for the past 20 years, said it's really built up its fitness center in recent years, which now attracts people from all over the county.
More and more seniors are taking better care of their health and want to maintain or improve it, she said. She believes the senior center is the answer for many keeping its members mentally and physically active.
Gulfport’s senior center is a gem in its community and a shining example of what senior centers can do for the people it serves. Gulfport’s is one of only 11 nationally accredited senior centers in all of Florida and a Community Focal Point designated by the Area Agency on Aging of Pasco-Pinellas, Inc.
“This place keeps us older folks going,” Wilbur chuckled.
There are many senior centers in Florida that meet the needs of seniors who wish to remain physically and mentally active. Many seniors and their families are not aware that many of these facilities exist. For those that have discovered facilities in their area, many seniors are grateful to have a place to go.
Here in Dunedin, the Hale Senior Activity Center has lots of recreational, social, educational and nutritional programs to offer seniors 55 years and older year round. It is home to the City's Committee on Aging, which works to anticipate the needs of Dunedin's senior adults and close the generation divide through community education and outreach.
The Hale Activity Center is on Douglas Street near Florida Auto Exchange Stadium. Some of its features include:
- Two large multipurpose rooms with kitchens, a computer lab, game room, and exercise room.
- A gift shop where members sell handcrafted items.
- Alternative transportation.
- Dunedin Senior Hall of Fame, which acknowledges Dunedin's most devoted older citizens.
Call 727-298-3299, for more information.