This David Bowie song is definitely stuck in my head. Not so much the lyrics, but the classic refrain…Ch-ch-ch-ch changes. The first months of the year have come and gone and we at the Senior Center are looking at 2017 as a year of change. This is not news for those of you that work, volunteer, or frequent the center regularly. We have been in a state of flux for over a year now as we expand and transform our physical space. Day Break, our adult day center, has found a home in a beautiful new building right next door to the center.
It has been open for business for three months and they are loving this new comfortable space immensely.
The transit facility, where Goose Creek Transit is located, has almost doubled in size. A hot water heater for a new wash bay is all that we are waiting for to finish up this project. As was the case for Day Break, the transit project is coming in on budget. This is a happy piece of information for the board of directors and all of our donors.
Last but not least, the Senior Center expansion and renovation project will be wrapping up phase one in a few weeks. The project is divided into three phases and all are projected to be complete in September 2017.
An additional 5,000 square feet will be available. The added space will be used for more and varied activities, a larger kitchen and home-delivered meals area, and some additional offices for expanded services.
Our staff, volunteers and patrons have been so patient and flexible throughout the construction. We are thrilled that despite inconveniences, people are coming down to 211 Smith St. on a daily basis. Our business operations have continued without interruption. In the summer our meals program will move up to the junior high school. Updates and news as we move forward will be shared in the coming months as we move into phase II and III.
Changes include more than just building space, however. In order to meet the needs of the changing generations of older people and maintain our ability to remain a financially sustainable and a healthy community organization over time, we must look at other things as well. Factors such as technology needs, efficiency of resources, and increasing our community partnerships are more important than ever. Developing new services and programs such as increased supports to people living with dementia and their families, which you may have been hearing and reading more about creates change too. Some of the services we have been providing for years are evolving as well, to serve people in the best way possible. An example of this is a change in our Loan Closet hours. Beginning in February, this service will be open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday in efforts to serve people more efficiently and effectively.
The style, design and image of who and what we are may seem trivial or unimportant for some, however senior centers across the country are learning the hard way that not keeping current in terms of today’s culture is important and effects older people too. I have it from a reliable source that one should expect some changes in the look and feel of the Sheridan Senior Center space to reflect a more modern updated atmosphere.
The senior center is and will continue to be a hub for people to be and do, gather and connect, learn and share, and create and perform. I often envision it as a student union for older people. A place to hang out, have a cup of coffee, grab something to eat, shoot a game of pool, listen to music, take a class, meet a friend, find out what’s going on and connect to resources.
I really look forward to coming to a place like that, don’t you?
Carmen Rideout is the executive director for the Sheridan Senior Center. Center Stage is written by friends of the Senior Center for the Sheridan Community. It is a collection of insights and stories related to living well at every age.