Last month our office received a letter from a senior center participant expressing her gratitude for the center she attends and especially for the manager who is in charge there. The writer shared that she feels “blessed to be around people in her age group and safe knowing (the staff person) is knowledgeable about the needs of older adults.” She talked about enjoying the exercise and art classes as well as the outings and special events.
It seems appropriate to share this story in September which is National Senior Center Month, a time to highlight senior centers and how they contribute to the health and well-being of a community. Senior centers provide support and encouragement to older adults, offer a place for them to gather with others, and discover their unique interests and talents. That’s why the theme for Senior Centers Month 2023 is Discover Yours! The centers in Adams County work hard to provide a variety of programs for the people who attend, giving them the chance to learn new things and enjoy different experiences.
Center participants can attend monthly chef presentations, sing-alongs, and painting classes thanks to a collaboration with the Adams County Arts Council. Several centers have a relationship with their local garden club – the club members lead programs or help with improving the outside appearance of the center. Senior Centers are fortunate to have dedicated volunteers delivering meals, leading exercise, yoga, crafts, and educational programs. Center participants give back to their communities by coordinating the local home-delivered meals programs and assisting with the efforts of organizations such as Operation Christmas Child, Toys for Tots, and the United Way.
Centers are open to adults aged 60 and over who live and function independently and would like to be part of a social community. Each day is different and fun, but a successful center requires a partnership between the manager, the members, the volunteers, and the local community.
Adams County currently has senior centers located in Biglerville, Fairfield, Littlestown, McSherrystown and York Springs. (We are seeking a location for a center in Gettysburg.) The centers are partially supported by the Adams County Office for Aging, Inc. (ACOFA) ACOFA provides a part-time staff person (manager), transportation to and from the center through a contract with rabbittransit, and lunchtime meals. Each center raises funds to cover operating and program expenses. In addition to fundraising events, money for the center’s programs comes in the form of donations from civic and local government organizations, as well as businesses and private citizens. Volunteers are always needed to help with fundraising, meal delivery, serve on center advisory boards, and assist with daily activities.
For more information about senior centers, please call the Adams County Office for Aging, Inc. at 717-334-9296 or visit our website at http://acofa.org/
Linda Thompson has worked at the Adams County Office for Aging, Inc. two different times for a total of 29 years. Linda works with ACOFA’s community programs including senior centers, transportation, volunteer coordination, Medicare counseling, and public education and outreach. She is a graduate of Gettysburg College with a degree in Sociology and Elementary Education. Linda lives in Gettysburg with her husband, Ed. They have three grown, married sons and six perfect grandchildren.