Cromwell Senior Center Connects Members To The World
Middletown Press, May 28, 2020
By James Mill
The Senior Center has been chosen to take part in an effort to relieve social isolation for seniors.
Senior Center Director Amy Saada said Cromwell is one of only nine communities across the country to be chosen to take part in the program that was created jointly by the National Council on Aging and Airbnb.
The “Online Experience” program enables seniors to choose to take part in live classes during which they can learn about people from other countries and other cultures.
Among the classes being offered as part of the program are a “Cooking Class with a Moroccan Family,” a “Portuguese Tapas Class,” and “A Guided Meditation with Sleepy Sheep,” Saada said.
“The goal is to provide older adults with human connections and unique experiences that can combat the isolation many seniors are feeling as they shelter in place,” Saada said.
“These are all live classes with people from around the world, so it’s a new way for our seniors to connect with the world while we are apart,” added Saada, who is also the town’s director of human services. “We are honored to be chosen to implement this program, and we hope that other senior centers will be able to learn from it so they, too, can expand their virtual programming options for older adults,” Saada said.
Manager Praises back to top
Town Manager Anthony J. Salvatore commended Saada for her efforts to obtain the Airbnb grant. “I think it’s great,” he said Tuesday. “Our department heads are very aggressive in their efforts to get grants.
“Amy is especially aggressive when it comes to getting grants for our seniors,” Salvatore added.
The Senior Center, which has been in existence for more than 30 years, “is an important community resource for older adults in Cromwell,” Saada said.
Prior to the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, Saada and her staff had seen a surge in seniors using the center as more and more of “the baby-boomer generation retire.”
They in turn have brought a desire for more and newer activities.
To that end, “We are working hard to provide social opportunities through a variety of options for all our members,” Saada said.
The Senior Center is more than a center for seniors, Saada noted.
“We also service caregivers, children, friends and/or neighbors of elderly residents, all of whom benefit regularly from the information, program, services, and referrals offered by our center staff on a daily basis,” Saada said.
The pandemic has been especially challenging, Saada acknowledged.
That said, “We are working hard to address innovative ways to keep our seniors and the community connected to combat isolation and loneliness.”
Often the center is a person’s “home away from home, and the only social interaction they may experience during the day,” Saada.
The center is current closed as a safety precaution.
”While we are closed, it‘s important for us to keep connected to our seniors,” Saada said.