Alabaster’s senior center thriving 40 years later

Published 9:55 am Tuesday, August 21, 2018

By DAISY WASHINGTON / Community Columnist

According to the National Institute of Senior Centers (NISC), senior centers have become one of the most widely used services among America’s older adults.

Today, almost 10,000 senior centers serve more than 1 million older adults every day.

Research shows that older adults who participate in senior center programs can learn to manage and delay the onset of chronic disease and experience measurable improvements in their physical, social, spiritual, emotional, mental and economic wellbeing.

More than 60 percent of senior centers are designated focal points for delivery of services—allowing older adults to access multiple services in one place. To maintain operations, senior centers must leverage resources from a variety of sources. These include federal, state and local governments; special events; public and private grants; businesses; bequests; participant contributions; in-kind donations; and volunteer hours.

Most centers rely on 3-8 different funding sources. Approximately 70 percent of senior center participants are women; half of them live alone.

The majority are Caucasian, followed by African Americans, Hispanics and Asians respectively.

The average age of participants is 75. Seventy-five percent of participants visit their center 1-3 times per week. They spend an average of 3.3 hours per visit.

Since its humble beginning 40 years ago, attendance at the Alabaster Senior Center has grown to 75 to as many as 150 members.

It was originally operated out of the Depot building at 100 Depot Street. Arriving as early as 8:30 a.m., eager members look forward to a day of fun and interesting activities along with the opportunity to socialize.

The center offers cards and games, expressive arts, health, exercise and nutrition program, outings and field trips, recreation and leisure activities, speakers, education and volunteer opportunities.

Seniors receive a nutritious and tasty lunch at 11:30 a.m. The day concludes at 3:30 p.m. The center operates Monday through Friday.

The Alabaster Senior Center has partnered with local community agencies. Members collect donations for the area food bank, and school supplies programs. The University of Montevallo Falcon Scholars help the center with administrative duties and provide assistance to members during their time at the center.