by Terri Durham, Office Coordinator

This summer, a new program designed to offer socialization opportunities to low-income seniors begins to take shape at the Mondo Anaya Community Center (MACC). While some senior adults enjoy the benefits of resort living and active lifestyles, slightly fewer than half of seniors live in poverty. The quality of life for senior adults living in poverty can be improved by reducing social isolation and improving health and nutrition.

Board President Cindy Schaider researched seniors living in poverty for a City of Casa Grande Community Development Block Grant application and found that poverty affects senior health if the individual is unable to afford medical care, medication, and other senior health and lifestyle needs. Additionally, although social ties are one of the strongest predictors of well-being, about 12 percent of adults aged 65 or older report that they “rarely” or “never” receive the social and emotional support they needed.

Senior Connections will be open to all senior adult residents of Casa Grande, with a special focus on the needs – and wants – of low-income households. An advisory group consisting of local residents and those familiar with senior program development will help shape and design what the program offers, maintaining that the group adequately reflects the cultural and unique needs of this senior population. Depending on funding, the program could be offered from 3 to 5 days per week, year-round.

Daily programming could consist of a coffee hour, board games and cards, puzzles and crafts. Seniors will have access to resources currently at the MACC including the computer lab and tutoring for basic computer literacy. Workshops and presentations on health and well-being topics such as exercise and fall prevention will be provided by outside partners Sun Life Family Health Center and University of Arizona. Other presenters can be made available for topics specific to participant needs and interests.  Field trips to arts or social events outside the area could also be offered based on the interest of the participants.

We are excited to expand our current programming at the MACC to the morning hours. The new Senior Connections program aligns with the mission of Seeds of Hope to promote opportunities to improve lives through relationships and community development. And, as with all of our programs, there is no cost to participants.

If you have an interest in knowing how you can be a part of this new opportunity, or may have a family member who is qualified, either in program development or program participation, we’d love to hear from you. Contact our office at 520-836-6335 and share your thoughts.