Older adults want to hang out, but Huntsville-Madison County Senior Center remains closed

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – Older adults are feeling left out when it comes to moving back into routine activities.

The Huntsville-Madison County Senior Center remains closed because of COVID-19 concerns. That facility is considered a second home to many of them, and those who use the center are ready to get out and socialize again.

Getting used to isolation

Tending to his garden has been the only activity Clarence Walls has been able to do.

“I am very isolated and I don’t have a whole lot of family, and a lot of senior citizens don’t,” said Walls.

But like many his age, The 76-year-old has had enough of the home life. He said, “I think that we as senior citizens are being discriminated.”

Walls said he’s ready to see his friends again.

“Here in the area, everything is shut down for people my age,” said Walls. “And going out dancing is part of our health exercise.”

The senior center will reopen, eventually

But the Huntsville-Madison County Senior Center remains closed under the Amended Safer at Home order.

“We have been reaching out to some of our seniors who usually come here on a regular basis,” said the senior center’s Health Programs Coordinator, Teresa Crandall.

The center regularly deliver meals, but staff is also ready to reopen this summer. And before anyone steps inside, everyone is required to wear a mask.

Moving forward with a new plan

The senior center is already preparing how it’s going to create space in each room, and between every member. The older adults will no longer sit elbow to elbow. Crandall said everything’s getting scrubbed down and re-arranged.

“We are going to be having more frequent classes with smaller groups,” said Crandall. It’s the effort staff is taking to limit capacity.

As long as Walls finds himself in a groove, the new rules won’t phase him.

Hang in there…

“With the isolation being continued and the shutdown being continued, it just makes it worse and worse as days and weeks go by,” said Walls.

But give it a month. The doors should be open.

The Huntsville-Madison County Senior Center said older adults can return July 6, but the date could change. Staff members said they will also continue to offer in-person tours once the center reopens, as long as you’re wearing face mask.

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