Wednesday, July 11, 2001

Center set for swingin' seniors

Sycamore facility offers much

By Jenny Callison
Enquirer Contributor

        BLUE ASH — The new Sycamore Senior Center is designed to accommodate the needs and interests of today's older population. Planners are keeping in mind a new generation of seniors.

        There's not a drab square inch in the $3.8 million facility, from its landscaped grounds to its spacious, handsome interior. A coffee bar greets visitors as they enter the building. Two full-size pool tables provide a popular distraction in the lobby.

        The center has a full-service kitchen, which serves a midday hot lunch. Changing eating habits and preferences, said director Ann Shinkle, caused facility planners to add a deli menu with lighter, quicker fare. All food is consumed in a cafe-style space with plenty of natural light. Between 70 and 100 people eat in the senior center each day.

[photo] Herbert Sedlitz (above) and Lois Eha (below) display their woodcarvings at the Sycamore Senior Center.
(Dick Swaim photos)
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        “It's a one-of-a-kind facility,” said Ms. Shinkle. “It's nice to have a nice place for the seniors to come. We're trying to bring nature back into the center, with the high ceilings and big windows, the trees outside.”

        Members' artwork spills out of the new studio and hangs on many of the walls. Beside the studio is a fitness center and computer lab.

        “Use of the fitness center is part of the membership cost, which is nice,” Ms. Shinkle said. “In the computer lab, we offer an introduction to basic computer skills and Internet use, which is a hot topic for the seniors because they want to be able to e-mail their grandkids.”

        Since the new facility opened early last month, membership has increased, as has the roster of programs and special events hosted by the center.

        Volunteer instructor Bob Hawkins added a third session to his woodcarving class because there's so much demand for the class.

        “Most of the people have started out all new,” said Mr. Hawkins. “They have progressed along and are now getting into the things they like.”

        In addition to craft instruction, classes range from philosophy to investment to airplane building. A series of fitness programs includes line dancing and yoga. Then there are the purely social activities, such as field trips and tours.

        Membership costs $20 per year. Nominal fees are charged for classes and other activities.

        A part of the LifeSphere organization, Sycamore Senior Center provides services such as Meals on Wheels and transportation assistance to qualifying adults in a 17-community area.

        Sycamore Senior Center is at 4455 Carver Woods Drive and can be reached at 984-1234.

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