What goes on in a senior center?

When I started with the Area Agency on Aging as the manager of the Joplin Senior Center, I found that a lot of people simply do not understand just what a “senior center” truly is!

I would get asked: “So, how many residents are there?” or “Is there a full-time doctor on staff?” Folks thought it was a long-term care facility, or simply a place for “old people” to be. I’d laugh and set them straight.

Seven senior centers in Barton, Jasper, Newton and McDonald counties offer our communities of adults 60 and older not only a place for a hot meal served daily, but the opportunity to socialize with friends and neighbors alike.

Board games, card games, dominoes and billiards are just a few of the activities available each day. You’ll find lending libraries with an ever-evolving selection of books, computers with Wi-Fi access to stay connected, and comfortable spots with the coffee always on to catch up with friends and a chance to make new ones.

With community sponsors lending a hand, bingo, dances and special guests share their time and talents to brighten the day.

Staying healthy and active is important for everyone, so different exercise classes and equipment are available as well as medical screenings, wellness clinics and guest speakers to encourage us all to better health.

So, the next time you think a “senior center” is just a spot for “old people” — think again! We’d love for you to stop by and see us in Lamar, Carthage, Webb City, Carl Junction, Joplin, Neosho or Noel and let us show you what it’s REALLY all about!

WENDY WAGAMAN is the nutrition assistant for AAAX.