By Jill Nagy
“It sure is a busy place,” said Kate Bunster, marketing director of the Saratoga Springs Adult and Senior Center at 5 William St. in Saratoga Springs.
With 100 to 150 people coming by on a typical day, the center offers a wide variety of activities for people over the age of 50, both for participating and volunteering.
“The social part is the biggest piece,” she said. For seniors who feel isolated or feel the need to make new friends, the center “creates a space to go during the day.”
A new program, for example, called Super Social Fridays, began in January. The program every Friday might feature a speaker like local author Richard Cerasani, who wrote a book about Mount Rushmore, or even a showcase for dancing dogs. Other programs are centered on craft projects.
For card players, the center hosts canasta, bridge, rummy and mah jhong games. There is also a pool table. Fitness activities include yoga, Zumba, tai chi, aerobics, and strength training. Groups also meet to crochet, knit or hook rugs.
Community Connect helps people find volunteer activities in the community or at the center. It trains volunteers to provide assistance to seniors in Saratoga County. Its mission is to help seniors maintain an independent lifestyle.
The volunteer services can be provided in many ways including home visits, respite assistance, household chores, transportation, shopping and running errands.
Educational programs tend to focus on health issues such as physical therapy or risk assessment.
The Saratoga County Office for the Aging brings into the senior center and serves low-cost lunches daily.
And, if someone just wants to watch TV and have a cup of coffee, they are welcome to do so.
The center is open to anyone aged 50 or over. While most of the members are from in or near Saratoga Springs, they come from other places in the area, Bunster said.
Membership costs $25 a year and there are additional charges for some of the classes.
The center started with just 35 members and the group purchased its first building at 162 Circular St. in 1960. The center expanded and moved to 5 William St. in May of 1979.
The center is close to Broadway and Congress Street. Its telephone number is 584-1621.