Senior Social Center members are ‘like family’ and working to expand activities and membership |

Senior Social Center members are ‘like family’ and working to expand activities and membership

Ashley Simonet, Northwest Colorado Center For Independence’s direct services coordinator, speaks during a lunch and learn on Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2023, at the the Senior Social Center.
Amber Delay/Craig Press

The Senior Social Center at 775 Yampa Ave. in Craig started because a group of local seniors got together and said, “We need a place to get together and go do stuff.” Since then, the group has developed a vibrant community for senior citizens. 

The Senior Social Center, which occupies the north wing of the Yampa Building, has a calendar full of activities for members throughout the month, and organizers at the center hope to expand those offerings. 

Jackie Camp, a founding member of the Senior Social Center and now a part-time staff member, said the center is about promoting connections. 

“That’s one of the most important things for people is to have a place to go to connect to other people,” Camp said. 

In addition to a variety of workout classes and card games, officials at the senior center also want to create more skill-building classes. Activities at the center are driven by its members’ interests, so residents are encouraged to share ideas or give feedback.

The center has a room with workout equipment where members can access on-demand workout videos anytime, and there are classes with live instruction. Camp said the center also has GeriFit classes provided by Northwest Colorado Health, and any of the wellness or fitness classes can be modified for different levels of mobility. 

The yoga classes offered at the center are open to any ability level too, and there is instruction for both chair yoga and traditional yoga. There are also opportunities for Tai Chi and Qigong, which have been recommended by medical professionals to improve both physical and mental balance and stability. 

During the summer, the center takes members to the Craig Swimming Complex, and in the winter months, they take a bus to Meeker twice a week to use the indoor swimming pool at the Meeker Recreation Center. 

Additionally, the main room at the Senior Social Center plays host to art and drawing classes, crochet circles, lunch and learns, and several different card games. 

“For the art classes, it doesn’t matter if you’ve never drawn before,” Camp said. “People are willing to teach.” 

According to Camp, members tend to be more active seniors in the community, but the doors are open for anyone, even if they just want to come in and visit.

“We’re like a big family,” said Corky Coverston, who has lived in Moffat County for 45 years. “And if something happens or someone doesn’t show up, we go and check on them.” 

Senior Social Center members at a lunch and learn Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2023.
Amber Delay/Craig Press

One program within the center is the Senior Outreach Service, or SOS, which provides home support for members who are homebound, recovering from an illness or injury, or low-income. Staff or volunteers will provide monthly phone calls, birthday and holiday cards, and deliveries of small gifts to improve participants’ quality of life. 

“Some people who come here live by themselves,” Coverston said. “And they can come here and talk to their friends and then have their friends come and check on them when they need help at home.” 

Coverston said that quite a few members died from COVID-19, and it was hard to come back from the pandemic without them. Overall, the center saw a decline in the number of members taking part in activities as well, though the center took precautions and practiced social distancing during the heightened months. 

Camp said the levels of activity are getting back to normal, and the pandemic also highlighted the need for the senior center’s services in the community. 

Aside from the social activities offered by the center, there is also a program to help local seniors navigate Medicare enrollment and benefits. Rebekah Greenwood, executive director for the Senior Social Center, meets one-on-one with seniors to counsel on plan options and make benefit decisions. 

In 2022, the program helped 400 people navigate their Medicare benefits. 

The center also hosts lunch and learns featuring speakers from local agencies to present about topics and services that apply to local seniors. This week the center offered a presentation from the Northwest Colorado Center for Independence, and in the past, the center has hosted presentations from Jennifer Riley, CEO of Memorial Regional Health. 

On Friday, Jan. 20, the Senior Social Center is going to host its annual membership drive with live music and food. All are welcome to attend, as organizers hope to spread awareness about the activities at the center and get feedback from the community.

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