Sunday, November 28, 2021

Local News

Madison Senior Center Set to Celebrate 10 Years

The Madison Senior Center will be celebrating the 10th anniversary of its 29 Bradley Road building during the month of November. In the last decade, the building has seen a number of new program and events aimed at helping keep the town’s senior community vibrant and active.

There will be events for members during November to help celebrate. Beach & Recreation and Senior Center Director Austin Hall said that his staff is in constant motion trying to develop programs that members need.

“Typically, in a non-COVID environment we would be having an anniversary party and have the town come in, but this year we are going to keep celebrations just for the members,” said Hall. “We will do some other pop-up special events to celebrate the anniversary month.”

Hall said he and the staff were most excited about how much the new building has allowed their services to increase.

“A lot has happened at the center in the last 10 years. We went from having a very small lunch program to having our own chef and 60 people a day for lunch,” Hall said. “We went from Meals on Wheels being a very small program to taking over Meals on Wheels and being able to accommodate many more people. Programming has blossomed and a lot of positive progress has occurred during these 10 years and it’s important to acknowledge those who make the Senior Center what it is.”

Hall said it is also gratifying to have the building open again and being a focal point for members to gather and socialize.

A number of vital programs are available to Madison residents and out-of-towners alike. Hall said the programming, overseen by Program Director Ellie Gillespie, is often formatted after collaborating with members on the type of activities and programming they want to see.

“She develops all the programming and really listens to our members. Just because we think something is a great idea doesn’t mean members do, so we want to make sure we’re programming for the members and taking advice and information from them,” said Hall. “That’s what a good programming director does, and Ellie does a great job for our members.”

Current programs include a meditation class and a flash fiction writing course for seniors to share stories and work on writing skills as a group. There are also book clubs, needlepoint classes, and practical courses and lectures on legal assistance, financial counseling, and caregiver support.

“We also have an Ask-a-Nurse program, where you can come in and talk to a nurse twice a month to prepare for a doctor’s appointment, get questions answered, get your blood pressure checked [and] weight checked, and to just be prepped for any appointment,” said Hall. “That is a very popular program to make sure you have all your ducks in a row.”

There is also yoga and tai chi for a range of skill and ability levels as well.

“We cater to every kind of senior, so we have chair yoga and chair tai chi, so everyone who wants to participate can do so,” Hall said. “We even have a ukulele group, and all kinds of educational classes as well. We also have an art gallery that changes every six weeks, and we try to feature local artists. We get to hang some pretty cool works.”

The center coordinates trips across the shoreline from New Haven to Mystic and even interstate trips to California and the Colorado Rockies scheduled for later this year.

“We are very lucky to have this building,” Hall explained. “It has an exercise room, programming space, a library, a café, and we think being able to supply Madison seniors with an outlet to socialize and to recreate and exercise is important and we all take pride in the fact that we get a lot of positive feedback from the programs we run. That makes you feel good, when people from all over come to participate, and to hear how happy they are-that’s a great feeling.”

The Madison Senior Center is open to all, but a la carte programming requires a membership. The yearly fees are $15 for residents and $20 for non-residents. The membership is good from July 1 through June 30 each year.

According to Hall, anyone can visit the senior center to secure a membership. If a Madison resident can’t afford the membership fee, staff will screen them to see if they qualify for a free membership.


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