New senior center open to community

Posted: Wednesday, July 12, 2000

After ten months of facility renovation, the new and improved Juneau Senior Center is now open! Everyone age 60 or over is invited to stop by the center to enjoy the fun activities, stimulating classes, organizational meetings and delicious food.

Since it is located within the Mountain View Apartment Annex, many people mistakenly think that it is specifically for people who live at Mountain View. But by definition, a senior center is not a place where people live and definitely NOT an institution. Rather, it is a community center where older adults come together for services and activities that respond to their diverse needs and interests, support their health and independence, and encourage their involvement in and with the center and the community. The center address is 895 West 12th Street, across from Harris Harbor.

The Juneau Senior Center currently offers exercise classes, a ceramics program, a knitting circle, Bridge and Pinochle card games, and a Senior Investment Club. Since staying active is the key to long life and vitality, the Senior Center hopes to expand its activities. The newly installed dance floor will open up some exciting possibilities, whether they be line dancing, ballroom dancing or tai chi. Persons wanting to request or lead an activity are encouraged to call activity director Pat Sidmore at 586-6231.

The Juneau Senior Center is growing as a meeting place for seniors. The AARP, Retired Teachers Association, Pioneers of Alaska, Igloo and Auxiliary 6, National Senior Service Corp and the Gastineau Channel Senior Center Advisory Council all plan on taking advantage of the lovely facility. Many seniors benefit from the Low Vision Support Group and the Diabetes Support Group which feature guest speakers each month. There is also a support group for persons caring for loved ones with Alzheimer's.

The Senior Center serves as a resource for the entire community for information on aging issues, support for family care givers, and referrals to services and options available. Under the supervision of Brenda Woodhouse, the Senior Information and Help Line (586-4300) is located at the Juneau Senior Center. She and her staff answer questions or refer seniors to services designed to enhance their independent living. Some of these services, such as the Bridge Adult Day Program and the Juneau Care Coordination Program, are actually located at the Juneau Senior Center.

The Juneau Senior Center is best known as the hub of Juneau's Senior Citizen Nutrition Program. All of the meals for the Douglas and Valley Senior Centers as well as the Meals On Wheels service are prepared in the Juneau Senior Center kitchen. Anyone, age 60 or over, is welcome to enjoy a hot, complete meal in the company of others, Monday through Friday at noon at the Juneau Senior Center. As the manager of the Nutrition Program, Lisa Gordon invites seniors throughout the community to visit the Juneau Senior Center, or the Valley or Douglas site, and try one of her delicious meals. For a monthly menu or meal reservations, persons should call 586-6231.

The services offered out of the Juneau Senior Center, including the Nutrition Program, Senior Information and Help Line, Juneau Care Coordination and the Bridge Adult Day Program are operated by Southeast Senior Services (SESS). The goal of SESS is to promote the health, independence and quality of life senior citizens living in Southeast Alaska.

Marianne Mills oversees senior citizen nutrition and transportation programs for Juneau, Ketchikan and Sitka as a staff member of Southeast Senior Services, a program of Catholic Community Service (CCS). CCS assists all persons regardless of their faith.

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