Editor’s note: The Nevada Appeal presented the Carson City Board of Supervisors, the mayor and city manager an opportunity for a column.
The story of how the senior center came into existence is a great example of a community working together to improve the lives of its seniors. Several volunteer and nonprofit organizations such as the Kiwanis Club were instrumental in the development of the initial senior center. In 1984, Carson City voters approved a five-cent property tax override to pay for the construction, furnishing, equipment, operation and ongoing maintenance of senior facilities. The current senior center at 911 Beverly Drive, originally opened its doors in 1990, was fully remodeled and expanded in 2004. It offers a full-range of vital services, as well as recreational and social activities.
The senior center today is still a superb partnership between the city and the nonprofit Carson City Senior Citizen Center Corporation, which runs most of the activities. The executive director, business manager and elder resource advocate are city employees; all the other employees work for the corporation. There’s a governing board who provides direction and oversight to the corporation and an Advisory Council who provides input to the executive director on policies, programs and activities.
If you’re a senior and have not been to the senior center for lunch, or if you haven’t been there for a while, check it out — you’ll be happy you did! The dining room is open from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Monday through Friday; you’ll see friends you haven’t seen in a while and make new ones, too. From last October to April, the center served more than 21,500 meals. There’s a recommended donation of $2.50 per meal for anyone over 60 years of age, although no one is ever turned away for an inability to pay. The meals are high quality and lovingly prepared, so get out of the house and get down to the center.
For our seniors who can’t get out of the house, the center has you covered. Meals on Wheels provided more than 35,800 meals to homebound seniors during the same October to April period. The service provides meals five days a week, Monday through Friday, with frozen meals for the weekends. As with the dining room, dedicated staff and volunteers prepare and deliver meals every day of the work week. Since 1993, the senior center has provided almost 1.9 million meals! Meal preparation is expensive; the more customers we have the lower the cost is per plate, so please come out and enjoy lunch with friends.
Stay active and stay engaged with friends through the center’s many activities. There’s literally something for everyone. General activities include bingo, billiards, bunko, ping pong, card/board games, puzzles and bridge. Knitting, lapidary, quilting, scrapbooking and watercolor painting round out the craft activities. These are just some of the activities available at the center; basically if you play it, then chances are you’ll find someone else who’s also interested in it. In my last article, I highlighted the importance of regular physical activity, and you’ll find plenty of options to do just that at the Center. There’s a variety of fitness classes, line dancing, as well as square and round dancing. All fitness activities are fun, social and provide you with a great opportunity to meet new friends.
Elder Resource Advocate Warren Bottino is on hand to help seniors navigate through various resources pertaining to Meals on Wheels, housing, utilities, and other senior services. He’s a wealth of information and can help connect you to various support groups and services to guide you with Medicare, Alzheimer’s support, diabetes and legal services.
Much of the funding for the center’s meal activities comes directly via sales at the Thrift Shop. Gently used items such as furniture, small appliances, dishes/pots/pans, jewelry, clothes, and collectibles are donated and sold. Center staff will pick up donations for free and deliver purchased items for a nominal fee. Please keep the Thrift Shop in mind if you have items that could generate needed revenue for our Senior Meal Programs.
The center also operates a unique gift shop. All items there are hand made by seniors and sold on consignment to provide needed income and keep them engaged in purposeful work. If you’re looking for a special gift for that hard-to-buy-for person, well, the gift shop might just be the answer.
Interim Director Dawn Beck is working hard to get grant funding for two important initiatives. The first grant would fund a Senior Services Navigator to help with case management. The second would provide transportation funding which would enable us to bring in seniors who live outside of the JAC bus service to enjoy lunch and activities. It would also facilitate day or overnight trips and raise money for the center. We should find out next month about the grant, but we’re hopeful.
In summary, Carson City voters wisely made senior citizen services a priority. City staff and the Senior Citizen Center Corporation work hard to deliver a full range of services as efficiently as possible. Financial donations are always helpful, but what we really need is for more seniors to come to the center and take advantage of the programs and services. You really will be glad that you did!
Nick Marano is the city manager of Carson City. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 775-887-2100.