What started as a dream six years ago is becoming a reality before our eyes. In 2011, we completed a needs assessment gathering information from our customers and the community. We asked what was needed to serve older adults and their families in the years to come and the community responded.
Sheridan has always embraced and valued its older citizens. The Celebrating Generations and Building Community Campaign demonstrated this support in terms of dollars to expand and renovate the space. Funds were also donated to add to our endowment fund. We are so grateful for the community’s support. Thank you!
Our kitchen and dining room at 211 Smith St. are now under construction. It is unrecognizable to those who dined there just a month ago. Noon dining and home-delivered meals are being prepared and served at Sheridan Junior High School, which has been a wonderful alternative. We appreciate everyone’s patience, flexibility and good old-fashioned effort in making all of this happen.
In order to clear out in time for school we will be moving back to 211 Smith St. at the end of August. Details on this will be coming soon. Finishing touches and completion of the project will be done in September and we are planning for a grand opening celebration in mid- September. Watch for news on this too in the coming weeks.
What have I learned through this project? First and foremost, I have learned that the stereotype that “old people are set in their ways” is simply not true. The changes for some during construction have been big as the senior center is “the hub” of activity and their day. We have witnessed firsthand however that people are stepping up to try new things, change schedules and start new routines. People are volunteering for the first time and creating new relationships. We have been spending time in new places and spending more time outdoors. Some people are quick to embrace the changes and some need some time. This is true of people at any age, don’t you think?
Actually, I have been seeing older people doing new things every day for a long time now. Moving to a brand-new town and a new home, starting a new job, taking a new class, singing a solo in choir, acting in their first play, learning to dance, falling in love, making new friends, taking on new roles in their family and, yes, even being excited and learning about new technology.
Set in their ways? No, it just isn’t so. In fact, older people as a whole really deal and adapt to more change, not less.
About myself I have learned that despite the disruption, I really do like construction projects. They are exciting because every day you see change and progress.
I have a tremendous respect for the skills and talents of the people working on these projects from start to finish.
The architect starts the process and the construction contractors, electricians, plumbers, roofing, heating and air conditioning contractors, landscapers and many more get it done. I think I will really miss the activity and the great people I get to see every day.
As we move closer to completion of the project please keep posted for updates and new information through the Sheridan Press and other local media. The fall newsletter that will be out in September will have a lot of important information. Changes in our operations and the flow of activity will undoubtedly be different too. So even though construction will be winding down there will be more new and exciting things ahead.
Please stay tuned!
Guest columnist Carmen Rideout is the executive director of 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.