I wanted to visit a senior center to see what they were about. My neighbor’s 75 year old mother Janet is an active participant in the ballroom dancing program at West Cobb Senior Center so I decided that would be a good center to visit. Janet is a traveler, takes cruises, collects antique dolls and is a dealer also, is a ballroom dancer and her home has many unique antiques which she has collected. She is an interesting person so this Senior Center must be OK. They have a ballroom dance practice from 1 to 4pm so I plan to be there at 1pm.
Even thought there are many senior centers close by to me, I take the hour long trip from Johns Creek Georgia over through Roswell to Marietta down Whitlock Ave then out a long stretch of Dallas Hwy. Right when my MapQuest says, there it is as I turn left in to the entrance of Cobb County Parks and Recreation campus. The sign says West Cobb Senior Center as I turn in to a nearly full park lot facing a attractive lodge type building. Nicely dress people are zooming in the lot and hurrying in to the building. Must be the dancers. I enter to an attractive large lobby with stack stone fireplace and people zooming by me to sign in. The place is abuzz with activity.
A lady at the open administrative office spots me looking over the information table and introduces herself as Cristina, the Program Specialist. I let Cristina know I am here to check out the center and meet Janet at the 1pm dance program. I am early so Cristina gives me lots of information about the senior center activities.
There are about 18 people sitting around a large conference table in a room across the lobby from where we are talking and Cristina tells me that is a meeting of the Great Ideas Book Club. Later I take a walk down the right wing of the building and see two more similar conference rooms with equal amounts of people sitting around the conference table. These I find out later are the Woodcarvers Club and the Shutterbugs Club. Another two rooms I spot gamers, playing Mah Jongg and Scrabble. Lots of mental stimulation going on today.
Christina tells me the West Cobb Senior Center is an active adult multi-purpose center open to anyone 55 or better. You do not have to live in the country to use the center. They have people ages 55 to 92 using the center. It is well used, I must say. Besides the activity in the center it is located in the Parks and Recreation area with walking trails and ball fields nearby. In addition to dancing, the center has two yoga classes that are fully attended and exercise programs to keep participate active physically.
Christina hands me “The Leaflet” which lists all the programs and activities of the center is offering for the month and I am astounded at the quality and the number. Wellness seminars, trips, health screenings and tons of classes. I see they have a trip to Atlanta’s historic Fox Theater planned. These were equal or better than those offered in the Del Webb Active Adult Communities I have visited. I am impressed.
It’s now 1pm so I head down the left wing of the building to a grand ballroom where I hope to see Janet. There are nicely dressed dancers signing in and greeting each other with hugs. It is a nice large comfortable room. A man who must be the greeter comes over and introduces himself and welcomes me. He’s thinking I’m a dancer, but I tell him I was looking for Janet. He says Janet usually gets there at a later time. The sound equipment is now set up and the first few dancers are on the dance floor twirling to the music. I watch for a few minutes and head back to say goodbye to Cristina.
On the drive back I am thinking it sure would be nice to have the West Cobb Senior Center close by to me. My impression is way better than I had in mind before making this visit to a senior center. I can see where Senior Centers could be and are an asset to anyone who uses them, encouraging us to be active both mentally and physically. I am sure not all Senior Centers are alike and offer as much as this one did. But still is shows me what is possible and changes my uninformed image of a Senior Center. I will check out the new Johns Creek Senior Center that is being built near me for sure and some other seniors center in Georgia.