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August 15, 2016
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Bristol Senior Center

Bristol, Connecticut cares for its seniors, ages 55 and over. Seniors in neighboring towns (Unionville, Farmington, Plainville, Southington, Wolcott, Plymouth, Harwinton, or Burlington and beyond) should all take note and join in. What’s special about the Bristol Senior Center?  This blog post offers a useful description of its impressive building, services, and leadership.

The Bristol Senior Center owes much of its uniqueness to its building.  Bristol renovated a whole elementary school to become its Senior Center.  The building is ranch-like on one easy-to-walk level, has dozens of classrooms for different activities, and is set on a large grassy campus.  This helps the Center meet diverse interests across its large participant community. Almost every ongoing activity has its own purpose-designed room.  This provides a free-feeling identity to each activity, event, and hobby, all under one big roof and all circling one big dining hall.

Some seniors play cards.  They gather for cribbage, pinochle, setback, canasta, and bridge.

Some play table games, including bingo, Chinese Mahjong, puzzles, and classic board games.

Some seniors prefer physical activity. The exercise room has an impressive range of equipment.  In the gym, seniors compete in pickleball, at different skill levels.  Elsewhere, seniors follow video exercise routines, join social dancing, and meet in walking groups to stroll along outside sidewalks.  The beautiful billiards room is always active, and ping pong livens up many days.

Some seniors compete in Nintendo Wii-sports.  The Wii-Bowling team has a secret technique, and its members won best-in-Connecticut in a league against other Senior Centers.

For crafts, seniors master or learn woodworking, needlework, painting, sculpting, and pottery. Some donate their creations to the ongoing Friends of the Center tag sale and boutique.

Some seniors form clubs and gather around shared experiences.  Every Wednesday morning, almost fifty veterans and veteran spouses meet.  Bristol has many veterans who served with distinction.  Other groups help stroke victims, discuss current events, and learn computer skills.

The Bristol Senior Center also hosts clinics for discount medical services. On-site services includes podiatry, dental care, immunizations, and blood pressure monitoring.

For all Bristol seniors, the Center helps connect them to city sponsored coupons and tax relief.

Farmer’s Market Coupons
Senior Volunteer Tax Relief

At the Center, a focal point of each day is the 11am-1pm $2.50 senior discount lunch in the dining hall. The meals are diverse and tasty.  The Center’s online menu describes its offerings.

Online Menu

Another weekly focal point are guests who speak on informative topics.  Recently, a Care Match America representative spoke about its new website for assisting seniors to find great health care and assisted living communities.  Also, several weeks ago, a representative of Home Helpers, a home health care agency, spoke about how veteran seniors can obtain VA pensions and afford quality care.

Care Match America
Home Helpers

Do you want to stay updated on Senior Center events?  Follow the monthly newsletter.

Bristol Senior Center Newsletter

When you want to go to the Center, it is great to use the Bristol Community Organization (BCO) shuttle.  For Bristol residents, it is just $50 annually for free rides around town.  This includes delivery to and daily pick up from the Senior Center. For more information, see their link.

BCO

For coordinating all these amazing services, we should all thank two extraordinary staff leaders.  Patti Tomascak is the Senior Center Director.  Jason Krueger is her assistant.  For 17 years, they worked together for Bristol Parks and Recreation.  Patti began leading the Senior Center in 2013, and she recruited Jason over to join her.  Their combined energy, creativity, and vision enlivens the lives of thousands of seniors. An estimated 3,500 people visit the Center each year.  For out-of-town residents, annual membership is $40. For Bristol residents, membership is free.  The way Bristol cares for its seniors makes me feel proud to live here.  The Center is an inspiration.

There is one health consideration for participants.  Many seniors and staff members have medical experience to help with emergency assistance.  However, the Center does not yet have on-staff nurses, aides, or one-on-one monitors for wandering.  For seniors with such needs and who seek daytime activities, the best local resource is Day Break Adult Day Care in Plainville, CT.

Day Break

Alternatively, seniors with medical needs can rely on Shady Oaks.  We have limited availability adult day care spots.  We host seniors for any day and for any hours, at just $8 an hour.  Plus, Shady Oaks helps its long-term and respite residents enjoy the Bristol Senior Center.  For those who request it, we coordinate resident transportation and send our aides as a personal escort.  In this way, the Bristol Senior Center is an amazing additional wellness resource for our residents.