40 Force: Elder Care – Senior Centers
Tom O’Neill is soft spoken, but despite his quiet demeanor he’s out at a senior center every day of the week. He keeps a schedule because like many of us, he doesn’t like to eat alone.
“I come to the senior center and meet the same people every time and come to eat. and then either before or after I eat then we can do some kind of activity together,” he told us.
For the staff and volunteers at the senior center, socialization is their main focus.
“We find that keeping people social keeps them healthy, active, and that’s our biggest goal. And one of our largest issues is finding the isolated senior and getting them to come to the senior center,” said Paula Dubord who’s the Director of Elder Affairs in Wilbraham.
There’s a misconception about senior centers too, mainly that everyone is old, frail and that they play bingo all day, but that’s not the case.
“I think people would be surprised when they come in on how active and young even our 80 year-olds are because they keep moving, we keep people moving,” explains Dubord.
And that might be an understatement. While we were there seniors were taking part in a card tournament, but they also offer outdoor activities like hiking, canoeing even snowshoeing, but that’s not all.
“We also offer a lot of services,” says Dubord. “As in most senior centers we are also the only social service agency in Wilbraham. So people of all ages in town who are looking for fuel assistance, food stamps, can come here to the senior center and we can help them out with that.”
Almost all of the activities at the Wilbraham Senior Center are free. Some do require a small fee of just a couple of dollars.