Se­nior cen­ters: For fun, con­nec­tion and healthy liv­ing

Maryland Independent - - Community Forum -

Charles County Gov­ern­ment works to pro­vide a high qual­ity of life for all ages. The Depart­ment of Com­mu­nity Ser­vices op­er­ates four se­nior cen­ters lo­cated in Wal­dorf, La Plata, Nan­je­moy and In­dian Head for in­di­vid­u­als age 60 and older. Se­nior cen­ters pro­vide nu­mer­ous op­por­tu­ni­ties for older adults to de­velop their skills and use their tal­ents in a fun and wel­com­ing at­mos­phere.

The county’s se­nior cen­ters in­clude Richard R. Clark Se­nior Cen­ter (1210 Charles St., La Plata), In­dian Head Se­nior Cen­ter (100 Corn­wal­lis Square, In­dian Head), Wal­dorf Se­nior Cen­ter (3092 Crain High­way, Wal­dorf) and Nan­je­moy Com­mu­nity Cen­ter (4375 Port Tobacco Road, Nan­je­moy). Daily ac­tiv­i­ties in­clude: parties and spe­cial events; meals; so­cial­iza­tion; fine arts; phys­i­cal fit­ness, Se­nior Cen­ter Plus, a so­cial pro­gram for more frail se­nior cit­i­zens; health and well­ness ac- tiv­i­ties; recre­ational pro­grams; sup­port groups; ed­u­ca­tional/ adult learn­ing pro­grams; and vol­un­teer op­por­tu­ni­ties.

Ac­cord­ing to the Na­tional Coun­cil on Ag­ing, in­di­vid­u­als who par­tic­i­pate in se­nior cen­ter pro­grams have im­proved health, bet­ter so­cial in­ter­ac­tion and greater life sat­is­fac­tion as com­pared to their non-par­tic­i­pat­ing peers. Se­nior cen­ters also serve as a gate­way to the ag­ing net­work by con­nect­ing older adults and their care­givers to vi­tal com­mu­nity ser­vices that help them to re­main healthy and in­de­pen­dent. Re­main­ing ac­tive and so­cially-con­nected is one of the best pre­dic­tors of healthy, suc­cess­ful ag­ing. Ac­tiv­ity, whether through fit­ness or other life-en­rich­ing ex­pe­ri­ences, re­duces the risk of de­pres­sion, sta­bi­lizes or re­duces cog­ni­tive de­cline and de­creases so­cial iso­la­tion among older adults.

All Charles County se­nior cen­ters are mem­bers of the Mary­land As­so­ci­a­tion of Se­nior Cen­ters, a statewide or­ga­ni­za­tion that pro­motes train­ing and ex­cel­lence in ac­tiv­i­ties plan­ning for older adults in cen­ters across the state. The cen­ters are also mem­bers of the Na­tional In­sti­tute for Se­nior Cen­ters, a na­tional or­ga­ni­za­tion that rec­og­nizes ex­cel­lence in pro­gram­ming and ser­vices through­out the coun­try. Due to the tal­ented pro­fes­sion­als who work at our four cen­ters, Charles County has re­ceived nu­mer­ous state and na­tional awards and recog­ni­tion for ex­cel­lence in the se­nior cit­i­zen ac­tiv­i­ties and ser vices pro­gram­ming.

The Depart­ment of Com­mu­nity Ser­vices con­ducts fre­quent pre­sen­ta­tions to or­ga­ni­za­tions and com­mu­nity groups about ag­ing ser­vices and sup­port for fam­ily care­givers. The cen­ters are al­ways look­ing for ways to best serve our ag­ing pop­u­la­tion, and en­cour­age se­nior cit­i­zens and coun­cils to sub­mit their ideas for new pro­grams to the cen­ters. To sub­mit your ideas, visit www.CharlesCoun­tyMD.gov/cs/ag­ing/se­nior-cen­ters for se­nior cen­ter hours and con­tact in­for­ma­tion.

To pro­mote all up­com­ing pro­grams and ser­vices, the depart­ment pub­lishes the monthly news­let­ters, The SCOOP and Nan­je­moy News. Read these pub­li­ca­tions for new events, ac­tiv­i­ties and pro­grams. Visit www.CharlesCoun­tyMD.gov/cs/ag-ing/ag­ing-and-se­nior-pro­grams to read the pub­li­ca­tions and learn more about se­nior op­por­tu­ni­ties. Se­niors, we en­cour­age you to visit the se­nior cen­ters and join the fun. Visit one of the cen­ters to learn new skills, get more ac­tive, and make a new friend or two!

Hay­wood Evans, La Plata The writer is the Charles County Di­rec­tor of the Depart­ment of Com­mu­nity Ser­vices

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