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.