September is National Senior Center Month! We’re celebrating by featuring a different senior center each week on the blog for the month of September. Senior centers play a huge role in our community by providing enrichment and entertainment during the workday, acting as a connector between community members and resources, and helping older adults age in place. We may have certain things come to mind when we think of senior centers, but no two are exactly alike. We’re continuing the series this week with an interview with Brittany Patton, Recreation Supervisor for the Ann Arbor Senior Center.
Senior Resource Connect: If you had to give an “elevator speech” about what your organization does, how would you describe it?
BP: The Ann Arbor Senior Center is your center for community programs and public or private events; offering a range of programs, services, and social activities to empower and engage older adults in healthful and meaningful ways. The Ann Arbor Senior Center provides programs and services that promote fitness and activity, reduce the risk of adverse health events, and provide recreational and cultural activities that can improve physical stamina and maintain cognitive functioning. Our goal is to make healthy activities fun while providing access to wellness information and support for older people and their families. We are proud to be a part of this community and we would be honored to have you join us. Programs and services for all ages are offered at the Ann Arbor Senior Center and also in Burns Park.
SRC: Walk me through the step-by-step process. What happens when you get a phone call/referral?
BP: Each phone call and person that walks into our building are first and foremost welcomed by a kind and genuine staff member. After introductions and learning what interests led them to our center, our staff starts to connect the dots between what we offer and our resources, or other community resources that we can suggest, all based on what the individual is looking for. We ask if they would like to be signed up to receive our weekly newsletter and send them home with either a receipt for a registered program, or a brochure, and one of our business cards so that they can review at home and give us a call with any future questions.
SRC: What organizations do you work closely with?
BP: We work closely with an incredible group of organizations, including but not limited to:
- Local government
- City of Ann Arbor Parks and Recreation
- Washtenaw County Parks and Recreation
- Ann Arbor Rec & Ed
- Senior Centers
- Pittsfield Senior Center
- Saline Area Senior Center
- U-M Turner Resource Center
- Service Providers
- Jewish Family Services
- United Way
- Catholic Social Services/Ahead of the Curve
- Trinity Health
- Medicaid Mike
- Therapy at Your Door
- Kellogg Eye Center
- U-M School of Public Health
- Care by Natalie
- Care Patrol
- Housing Bureau for Seniors
- Brookhaven Manor
- Brookdale Senior Living
- Clear Computing
- Jafferson Computers
- Keen Focus Technology
SRC: What are some things you wish the public knew about your role?
BP: I wish that the public knew that our center is owned and operated by the City of Ann Arbor, and our services are available to anyone at either no cost, or nominal fees (we will be introducing a scholarship program in 2023 that will allow seniors of certain eligibility requirements to participate in programs and receive a membership at no-cost). The location of residence, type of insurance/health network, and more, do not make a difference – anyone is welcome. Additionally, if there is a program or resource that someone is looking for and we do not offer it at our center, we will make our best effort to guide those to the resources and activities that are available elsewhere in the community.
SRC: What tips do you have for someone with a loved one that could benefit from visiting a senior center?
BP: There is truth to the saying “Knowledge is the most powerful tool.” Seeking education for yourself and loved ones about the resources available for seniors is invaluable and waiting until the last minute to learn about things often causes stress and misguided decision making. Take advantage of learning opportunities and educational workshops now so that you are aware of the different aspects of aging and can make more informed decisions prior to it falling into your lap. If you or a loved one is faced with a challenging situation, don’t hesitate to ask for help or information about ways to help manage. The resources in our community are very fruitful and full of people wanting to provide their help and guidance through the areas that they specialize in.
SRC: Is there anything you would like to add?
BP: The Ann Arbor Senior Center does not require a membership; however, members receive discounts on classes and senior center space for private rentals. A year-long membership is only $25, and a family annual membership is $35. To provide the most exceptional program experience, starting January 1, 2023, we will ask participants to register for an annual membership to participate in no-cost activities such as Drive-Through Events, Pilates, Trivia, Mind Matters, Weekly Park Walks, and other new additions in our programming. Non-members may try each program, once, at no cost, prior to making their determination to join. Participation in a program following the free trial will cost $2 per person for non-members.
Fall 2022 programs include Weekly Senior Park Walks, Monthly Drive-Through’s with goodie bags and snacks, Weekly Workshop Series, Mind Matters (Zoom), Trivia (Zoom), Bridge Games (sanctioned and non-sanctioned), Instructional Bridge Classes, Tai Chi, Line Dancing, Adventures in Watercolor, and Senior Pilates. You can contact the center by calling (734) 794-6250 or emailing me at [email protected].
Thank you so much to Brittany for sharing all that the Ann Arbor Senior Center has to offer! You can learn more by visiting the center’s website.