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Seymour Center serves local older adults during Senior Center Month, beyond

Chapel Hill resident Douglas Hart, 69, lines up his shot at the Seymour Center in Chapel Hill, N.C. on Sep. 6, 2023.

Gov. Roy Cooper has proclaimed this September as Senior Center Month in North Carolina. The state has 170 senior centers spread across 95 counties, and these centers provide a variety of programs and activities for older adults. 

"Discover Yours" is the national theme of this year’s celebration, as older adults are encouraged to explore their nearby senior centers. 

In Orange County, those include the Passmore Center in Hillsborough and the Seymour Center in Chapel Hill. The Orange County Department on Aging operates both centers. 

Myra Austin, the community-based services and senior centers administrator for the Orange County Department on Aging, said the Seymour Center will offer special programs and services for Senior Center Month. These programs include a health and wellness fair, Chinese folk dance and mixed media art.

“We average about 400 people a day dropping in for different programs and activities,” Austin said. “Many of the exercise classes and programs are very popular.”

The center offers its services to people 55 years and older, and does not require members to be residents of Orange County. Community members can pay a membership fee to join the center's fitness studio, and scholarships are available for people with lower incomes.

Orange County residents 60 years and older can register for the OCDOA's lunch program, which offers lunches at the center Monday through Friday on a first-come, first-served basis. Those under the age of 60 can pay $6 for lunch.

Some events offered at the Seymour Center during Senior Center Month are the “Farmer’s Market at Seymour” every Thursday and “The Art of the Playlist Creation” — a free class that teaches participants how to perfectly curate a collection of songs for different occasions — on Sept. 20.

The center also offers a variety of classes and events throughout the year, including aerobics, State Employees' Credit Union training and support through aging transitions.

Basic Congolese drumming classes are also available, taught by Ken Wilson, a retired professor from Duke University's Department of Medicine who has been playing the Congolese drums for over 40 years.

Congolese drum instructor Ken Wilson teaches a class at the Seymour Center in Chapel Hill, N.C. on Sep. 6, 2023.

Douglas Hart, a Chapel Hill resident, said he usually comes to the Seymour Center around three times a week to use the treadmills and weights, and that he comes to the center weekly to play pool with a group of friends.

“I met all of these guys, and they are pretty nice guys,” he said. “You can really come out here and catch me at the pool table.”

The Seymour Center has also added indoor pickleball courts and offers “Pickleball 101” and "Parkinson Pickleball" classes.

Richard Williams, a Chapel Hill resident, began coming to the Seymour Center in June. He plays pickleball and bridge with groups that he met through the center.

Town residents play pickleball together at the Seymour Center in Chapel Hill, N.C. on Sep. 6, 2023.

“I'm really happy that the County supports it and this is a wonderful facility,” Williams said. He said the Seymour Center has been a great way to meet new people and that he goes about three times a week. 

“We all have significantly different backgrounds — I was an engineer before I retired, and that meant I spent a lot of time with a lot of other engineers,” Williams said. “And that's about it. So the variety diversity of the people that I'm now involved with is really cool.”

@DTHCityState |

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