Not Your Mama's Senior Center
There are 13 Senior Centers on the Five County Area Senior Citizen Centers | Area Agency on Aging - Five County AOG (areaagencyonagingfivecounty.org) Recently I entered a senior center and a Pink Floyd song was playing in the background, followed by one by John Denver. The centers have various activities to fit the needs of the community they serve. The Seniors Centers in our area are owned by the Counties, funding is local, state, and Federal and are part of the Older Americans Act. The congregate nutrition program is the largest program in the Older Americans Act (OAA) and was established in 1972. It provides group meals for older adults at senior centers, churches, and other facilities. Senior Centers have many purposes, from socialization, meals, and community support. The meals help seniors who have food insecurity. In a recent poll, seniors responded that they have skipped meals during the past month because they need to use the money for living expenses. Others in the same poll reported they were physically not able to prepare a hot fresh meal. (NANASP-NRCNA Literature Review)
Local Senior Centers can be fun and a great way to meet up with old friends or make new friends. Each Center has activities, from yoga, Zumba, kick stick and Tai Chi to cards, pool, and storytelling. If there is an activity you would like to do, you can make suggestions and even help plan with the senior center staff. The activities are at all levels, from the physically active to the recently off the couch.
Senior Centers promote healthy aging and wellness. The philosophy that aging does not begin and end at the doctor’s office is more prominent. Our health is affected by socioeconomic factors, social integration, and many other concerns outside the doctor’s office. The Area Agency on Aging Five County have adopted Evidence-based programs to educate and assist seniors through classes and activities held at the senior centers. These programs decrease hospitalizations, increase mobility, address social isolation and they are fun.
Tracy HeavyRunner is our Home and Community Based Program Director.
She has been with AAA-Five County since 1996. Tracy graduated from Southern Utah University and is a Social Service Worker. Additionally, she is a certified caregiver coach through the Rosalyn Carter Institute and a Master Trainer for the Chronic Disease, Diabetes and Pain Self-Management Programs.