Work is still underway inside the brand new home for Shelby Senior Services, Inc., The Horizon Center, but now is the time for local residents to become a part of the change to connect and change how the world views aging.
Changes, although hard and scary for everyone, means bigger and better things for senior citizens in Shelby County this summer, according to Kim Koehl. She has been the senior agency’s executive director during the past four and a half years.
Different from previous years and possibly the first time in its history, the senior agency has implemented a membership drive for residents ages 50 and up wishing to participate in activities inside the new MHP Community Wellness Center scheduled to open this summer at the northern edge of Shelbyville. Part of the center will house the local Horizon Center, administrative staff and all services available through Shelby Senior Services, Inc., which currently operate at 1504 S. Harrison St.
“The move is a win-win for everyone,” said Koehl. “This is another step in our growth. We’ve had many stepping stones along the way.”
To participate in activities in the new center, residents must register as members or indicate interest in membership no later than July 1 and pay the annual $50 fee. That amounts to only 19 cents a day or less that $1 a week for the entire year, according to agency board member Maria Bowman-Horner who chaired the membership committee.
Plus, each new and current member who pays the $50 fee by the July 1 deadline will be given a bonus – a free one-time six-month membership from July 1-Dec. 31. That’s 18 months for the price of 12, she said.
Current members paying the $25 will be increased to $50 on their renewal date and will receive free months.
When the Center opens, those who are interested in trying a class but did not pay the $50 fee by July 1, may receive a one-time free day pass at the discretion of the staff of Shelby Senior Services, Inc. Additional passes would be $5 a day.
Plans for this new endeavor started two years ago, said Koehl.
“The larger facility give us the possibility of more diverse and inclusive activities and programs and possibly expanded hours,” she said. “Membership will afford us to possibly expand staff.”
The space, Suite 101 inside the 2120 Intelliplex Dr. building, is configured differently than any of the previous locations of the senior center and agency, according to Koehl. “It gives us more flexibility to include more participants. So, there can be more people playing cards, doing Zumba, line dancing, and Geri Fit to name just a few programs.”
In addition, Koehl said the new facility provides “the best of both worlds” for socializing, meal and nutrition programs, fitness and wellness activities, arts activities, educational programs, special interest events and so much more since it will be in a wellness center. Members will also have the opportunity to join and participate in the YMCA programs for an added cost that is yet to be determined.
“The staff is excited. They’re enthusiastic. They’re dreaming of what could be and how to implement it,” she said. “Today’s senior is a different person than 10 years ago. We’re trying to reach younger seniors, a lot of them are still working, so we’re looking at extra programs and maybe expanding to a few hours in the evenings.”
The new facility provides another outlet “to belong to a group other than their own work family,” she said.
In looking ahead, Koehl said this not-for-profit agency’s staff and board of directors hope to give Shelby County’s seniors programs that they cannot find anywhere else.
Included are the social services that do not require membership.
“We’ll keep the same social work services, the handyman service, SHIIP, legal aid and tax assistance, ShelbyGo transportation, meals,” she said. “Shelby Senior Services provides a link to information (residents) might not normally have that might help them with, for instance, their aging parents. It’s a wealth of information. Having a relationship with Shelby Senior Services opens up doors to information and guidance.”
Realistically, Koehl pointed out that things happen unexpectedly and when in crisis, “that’s not the time to start looking for services.”
More information about the membership, satellite centers in Fairland, Morristown and Waldron, programming and services is available at the agency’s current location, 1504 S. Harrison St., Shelbyville, or by phone 317-398-0127. Office hours are from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Mondays through Fridays.