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Letter: Senior Centers Provide Invaluable Service

Due to the trials that both Nassau and Suffolk counties are experiencing with financial woes, I’d like to comment on an important sector of our population, our seniors.  These daytime centers where they congregate on a daily basis are extremely important to their well-being.  To sanction cutbacks and possibly limited availability would be devastating to them. I am employed at a daytime senior center.  There are two cooks and we help prepare hot meals to our seniors on a daily basis.  Aside from the usual senior center activities of bingo, cards, entertainment, outings and various classes, there is a daylong event that takes place once the summer months are here.  On Fridays, a group of us accompany folks to Lido Beach for a day of fun and making memories. 

Our women are dressed with summer hats and colorful outfits to match their sunny outlook in anticipation of the day ahead of them. There is always lively conversation as we make our way to the beach.  When the bus arrives, we are warmly greeted by a beach staff member who informs us of the day’s activities after which time we head on over for shelter under huge metal mushrooms for protection from the sun. A vocalist entertains for awhile and a sing-along ensues. One of the day’s activities is line dancing in an air-conditioned building. Many look forward to spending some time in the pool and there is always a great box lunch waiting to be enjoyed before heading over to the large tent with upbeat music and dancing on the docket. Every performance usually closes with a patriotic song. I observe people with their aides and think how fortunate some families are to know that their parents are being well cared for while they are working. But most of all I see people who can forget their aches and pains, their walkers and canes, if just for a few hours in a day. Heading back on the bus the chatter is non-stop. Every stage of life must be embraced. Some will be better than others and when there are centers around to provide companionship, a nutritious meal and on occasion, a day outing, it needs to be recognized. Every aspect of this journey needs to be appreciated as well as the men and women who work tirelessly to help it come together for this special sector of our population – parents, grandparents and great-grandparents - our beloved seniors.

Diane Sciacchitano