SEBASTIAN – More than a dozen seniors from in and around Sebastian gathered Friday afternoon to discuss the activities they’d like to see grow at the Sebastian Senior Center.
Activities and participants have declined at the Senior Center since Alzheimer’s care located to the site. “If it’s going to be a convalescent home, it shouldn’t be called a ‘senior center,'” said 10-year Canasta player Craig Munson said at the outset of the meeting with Sebastian City Councilwoman Andrea Coy and Senior Center Manager Kelly de Long, from the Senior Resource Association.
As it is, seniors in the area who participate in the Meals on Wheels congregate meals program was displaced from the Senior Center, relocated to By the River.
“We have to take care of everyone in the community,” Coy told the crowd. “They’re both a need.”
Coy and de Long called the meeting to find out what activities the area’s seniors want to expand and add.
Coy added that she would work to find a larger facility, too, if enough seniors participate in the activities.
Currently, the seniors plan to have Mahjong on Monday, Thursday and Friday, 4-deck Canasta on Tuesday, Pinochle and Cribbage on Wednesday, and 2-Deck Canasta on Friday.
“That’s a lot of Mahjong,” said Barbara Munson during the meeting.
No one from the Mahjong contingent was in the audience to discuss the need or desire for so many Mahjong days.
Senior Center participants also mentioned they’d like to have painting classes, arts and crafts, line dancing and other dance classes.
“My husband wouldn’t learn the cha-cha if I threatened him,” quipped Geri Kunst, a recent addition to the group.
She has been seeking more senior activities after finding out that her gated community’s clubhouse is limited in terms of what can be offered and who can participate.
“We’ve got to have something to do,” Kunst said.
Senior Center Manager de Long told the group that they need to demonstrate a desire for various classes before she can line up instructors.
Classes cost between $5 and $45 – depending on the type of class – and the funds go to pay the instructors. If not enough people are interested in the class, the Senior Resource Association can’t pay the instructors, de Long explained.
“We don’t have much room,” Barbara Munson said of the Senior Center’s ability to accommodate many more people.
“Let’s stuff the room first,” Coy suggested, noting that if they get enough people to show there is interest in senior activities, the city and county both could work to find a larger facility.
“I will find you the space,” Coy told the group.
In an attempt to generate more interest in the existing activities, they suggested they offer teaching sessions for the various games.
Members said that by offering the ability to learn to play the games, they might get more people.
“I’d like to keep learning new things,” Kunst said, noting that they are already helping her learn to play Canasta.
The seniors plan to meet again with Coy and de Long at Noon on Nov. 12 to further discuss their needs and where the facilities could be they could use.
In the meantime, others who did not attend the meeting but have suggestions for activities are encouraged to contact Kelly de Long by calling (772) 469-2062 or e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.