Despite September being National Senior Center Month, there is not much activity at the centers in both Watertown and Jefferson due the coronavirus pandemic. The theme for the month is “Delivering Vital Connections.”
The centers, where the majority of the users need to be more cautious about contracting COVID-19, closed five months ago when the pandemic was announced.
As center directors review the protocols for social distancing and less interaction, the plans include reopening with limited or altered programming.
“We are working closely with the health department and mayor to see what we may start in the fall,” Watertown’s new Director of Senior and Enrichment Services Andrea Draeger said. “In the next newsletter we hope to have more information about what we are able to offer with drive-in programs. Everything has to be outside right now and we have not held anything outside yet.”
“We can’t have anyone congregating inside and that limits us from regular activities,” the director said.
The only thing the Watertown center is currently offering is walking. “It is very limited and we only have a couple here that walk. The building is open Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, limiting the time available to walk.
The building is being rented out for blood drives, too.
“We are working on the logistics, but hopefully after Labor Day we can start some type of drive in program,” Draeger said.
The Jefferson Senior Activity Center has been offering a few programs as it deals with the pandemic. “We are slow but steady on opening, but participants seem to be enjoying themselves,” senior center Coordinator Sheila Frohmader said. “We are trying to keep everyone safe but happy.”
A picnic brunch is held on Wednesdays from noon to 1 p.m. at Tensfeldt Park on Tensfeldt Avenue. Participants are to bring their own lunch and beverages and not bring food to share. There are plenty of tables for social distancing.
The center offers parking lot bingo at the Veterans of Foreign Wars Recreation Center grounds. It is held Tuesdays at 1 p.m. Participants are to bring their own chair and something to write on. One can use a pen, highlight marker or dauber for the cards. Bingo players can sit in their vehicles or under a tree. The cost is $2 per card and 10 games are played.
Mondays through Fridays at 9 a.m. the center offers “Doris’ Exercise Class.” The class can be done sitting or standing and there is time for walking. Tuesday is “Toning with Norm” with the class doing sitting and standing toning exercises and walking. Wednesday the group does a “Moving with Mike” DVD. Masks need to be worn during exercise class, except for walking outside.
Line dance is held at 10 a.m. Fridays in the great room. Participants need to wear masks while in the building and during class.
The sit and stitch group is able to meet from 1 to 3 p.m. Wednesdays in the great room where there is a lot of space for social distancing, Frohmader said. Participants bring their own craft project or handy work and can socialize with others. “Contact the senior center to prevent social isolation,” Frohmader said.
The senior center is offering a new program, grab and go contact-less lunch for those 60 and older. For a meal, contact the center the day before a meal at 920-728-0259.
Meals are $4 each and the county will bill participants.