Those 60 years and older comprise nearly 20 percent of the population in the City of Lynnwood and the numbers are expected to double by 2020, according to the 2010 census.
The Lynnwood Senior Center is doing its part to serve the senior citizen community by providing a gathering place and offering stimulating activities for the mind and body at its 4,200-square foot facility near City Hall. The center has been at its current location, 19000 44th Ave. W./just north of City Hall, for four years and has been in operation for 19 years.
Senior citizens can partake in a wide range of activities that include small discussion groups on various topics, acupuncture, foot care, seated chair massage, exercise classes, yoga, Zumba, Tai Chi, dance classes, Pilates, computer training, games, trips and an impressive lineup of outdoor activities.
More than 100 volunteers are a major part of the center’s operations, according to Senior Center Supervisor Mary-Anne Grafton.
“They do everything to support the community,” said Grafton, who has been with the center for nine years.
The center has started a new drop-in volunteer program that is designed to give volunteers more flexibility. Each week the plan is to do different projects to support the community, non-profits and those in needs. The goal is for volunteers to commit to two hours a week.
“We want to provide a way to engage and give back to the community,” Grafton said.
The Lynnwood Senior Center doesn’t necessarily target a specific age group since the senior citizen community can be considered anyone from 55 to 100. The two classrooms in the center are busy every day with different programs for all age groups. In a way Grafton sees the center as catering to two senior citizen groups. Those in their 80s and 90s can stay busy with as Bingo and other social activities.
But the center also has plenty of programs for the newly retired, who could be as young as 62.
“They need a new community,” Grafton said.
Newly retired senior citizens aren’t working anymore, so they no longer belong to a work community. As a result, they often feel a little bit displaced.
“I’m very concerned about that,” Grafton said.
To meet their needs, the center has more diverse programs than you typically might find in many senior centers.
In addition to a wide range of exercise and physical activity classes, the center has a robust outdoor recreation program with many hikes, bicycle excursions and other trips throughout the Pacific Northwest. Some of the more unique trips planned include a Zip Line trip to Mount Springs Lodge near Lake Wenatchee and a Camel or Segway adventure at Mount Baker.
The center also has a community garden where senior citizens can grow flowers and vegetables. The garden boxes are waist high and are easily accessible. When people downsize and move out of their homes, they lose the ability to have a garden, Grafton noted. The garden provides a major health benefit by increasing access to fresh food for seniors.
A major project scheduled next month is the renovation of the center’s kitchen. With the installation of commercial equipment, the center hopes to increase its healthy options of food.
Those the name is the Lynnwood Senior Center, younger people are encouraged to join in on the fun. Membership is $25 for those 62 and older and an Associate membership is available for people 61 and under for $35.
“We do have people of all different ages,” Grafton said. “We welcome all ages.”
The center is open from 8:30 a.m.- 3 p.m., Monday through Friday and until 6 p.m. on Tuesdays.
A recent random one day survey found that 127 residents visited the center, so it can be a busy place. Nearly 40 percent of those surveyed indicted they had been coming to the Lynnwood Senior Center for 1 to 5 years and more than 46 percent said they visited 2 to 4 times a week.
“I love my job,” Grafton said. “This kind of community work is so necessary. It’s compelling. It’s energizing. It’s different every day. I’ve not been bored one second.”
– By David Pan