Barnstable to Celebrate Senior Center 20th Anniversary

HYANNIS – The Town of Barnstable will celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Barnstable Senior Center Friday, June 21.

A community cookout will be held from noon to 2:30 p.m. to celebrate the accomplishments and growth over the last two decades to help older adults in the community.

“We’ve helped so many town residents age in place and remain independent in the community through offering programs that help them stay socially engaged and physically active,” said Madeline Noonan, the town’s Director of Senior Services.

“It has just been a pleasure and a privilege for us to be able to do that and to continue the work that we are doing.”

Noonan said the event will be a lot of fun for the whole community.

“We are focused on honoring the past, but also looking very much to the future,” she said. “We are going to have some wonderful entertainment. We are going to have photo booths, ice cream. It’s going to be a great time.”

The event will also look to the future as the new logo and tag line will be unveiled for the facility, which has been rebranded as the Barnstable Adult Community Center.

The facility has been renamed in an effort to include more residents who maintain an active lifestyle and do not self-identify as a senior.

Director of Senior Services Madeline Noonan says the change was made to highlight that the center is for all individuals 50 or older.

“We are looking at a whole new generation of older adults in our community and we really want to make sure that we are envisioning a place where the focus is on the experience and not so much on peoples’ age,” Noonan said.

Last year, Noonan said the town conducted focus groups and a community wide survey which indicated that a lot of people were not using the center because they did not identify with the term senior or feel old.

Baby Boomers, which number around 76 million in the United State, are the country’s largest age group. The oldest of the generation began turning 60 back in 2006.

Recent statistics show that only 10 percent of the participation at the Senior Center is from individuals under 65.

Surveys also indicated that about 60 percent of people favored a name change for the facility.

“When we ask people what is the appropriate term to refer to a person over 50 the response that we get is not senior or elder,” Noonan said. “It’s adult or older adult.”

The town will also be presented with a certificate stating that the community has officially joined the World Health Organization’s Global Network of Age-Friendly Cities and Communities.

The network has over 900 communities across the globe that are actively working to ensure that they are a great place to grow up and grow old.

“We feel very strongly that Barnstable is a wonderful place,” Noonan said. “Our community is thriving because of all the community supports that we have.”

The designation allows the town to self-evaluate the community and find areas where it is succeeding or need improvement.

“Some of the age-friendly domains are in areas like transportation, housing, social inclusion, community outreach – things that we have been doing on an informal basis,” Noonan said. “It gives us more of a formal recognition that we are aspiring to be better in all regards so that our citizens of all ages can age successfully in town.”

The Cape Cod Regional Transit Authority will also present the Community Center with a new handicapped accessible van.

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