FAIRBORN — The Fairborn Senior Center has continued business as usual throughout the past year, which means it has experienced growth in a number of areas, according to Executive Director Ellen Slone-Farthing.
“Last year for our life enhancement, we had [more than] 14,392 participants come into the center,” she said. “Whether it be to play cards, to work on their quilts, to [participate in] Happy Hookers, [which is a knitting group] that makes hats for newborns at Soin [Medical Center], the homeless shelter and [other organizations] … Our total membership on the life-enhancement side is almost 1,300 individuals. We’d like more, but I’m always wanting more.”
It is continuing to partner with Sinclair Community College to offer a history class, which has grown in interest. Slone-Farthing said the number of participants has increased from four to 25 who wish to learn. It started a new partnership with First Presbyterian Church of Fairborn in which the church provides the center with lunch each month in addition to an opportunity to learn and play the tile-based game “mahjong.”
It is also offering fitness opportunities, such as yoga and exercises that focus on balance.
The senior center last year received a grant through the Miami Valley Regional Planning Commission, helping to pay for a new, larger van which can transport 12 individuals and two wheelchairs. Last year, senior center volunteer drivers transported 695 local seniors more than 47,000 miles across Greene, Montgomery and Clark counties for various appointments and activities.
“Transportation continues to be a growing service,” Slone-Farthing said, adding that individuals are welcomed to become a member of the center at 50 years old. ” … Between 50 and 59, there’s an issue of people being able to get transportation because they’re disabled and not much going on in the area, so they become members and we’re able to take them to their doctor’s appointments.”
Care coordination through the senior center aims to link seniors with resources that empower them to live independently and meaningfully. It served more than 1,400 clients in 2016, totaling 2,000 hours of care and case management. Slone-Farthing said the center prides itself in the amount of contact the care coordination department has with its clients, whether via telephone or in-person. More than 12,000 hours went into homemaking efforts at the senior center in 2016, serving 180 clients on a regular basis.
The Fairborn Senior Center will continue this year with its collaboration efforts to offer events and services to the entire Fairborn community, such as the annual Thanksgiving feast, which served 500 in 2016, and Christmas in Action project, which currently has six applications in-hand for this year’s project.
“It’s an amazing time for seniors, population is growing,” Slone-Farthing said. “We want to be there to be able to help them to maintain in their homes … We love what we do, we’re a family there.”
Reach Whitney Vickers at 937-502-4532.