Senior Friendship Centers Inspires Self-Discovery and Connection to Combat National Epidemic of Loneliness

The Giving Coast

Sarasota County is home to two national-model senior centers in the nation. In observance of National Senior Center Month this September, Senior Friendship Centers (SFC) highlights senior centers' role in addressing isolation and loneliness among seniors. In Sarasota County, around 23% of the population, or more than 40,000 seniors are solo dwellers. The U.S. Surgeon General's recent eighty-two-page report emphasizes the detrimental effects of loneliness on older adults, including increased depression, anxiety, and mortality rates comparable to smoking, obesity, excessive alcohol use, and physical inactivity. According to the report, it is crucial to participate in community-based organizations like Senior Friendship Centers. It’s that simple. Since 1972, Senior Friendship Centers (SFC) has been working to address isolation and loneliness among older adults by providing opportunities for self-discovery and connection. From brain fitness classes to educational programs, neighborhood dining centers, volunteer opportunities, etc., SFC’s activity centers serve as a community hub where older adults find friendship, support, and purpose. In addition to finding enrichment and entertainment, resources and connection, senior centers are also a place where older adults come to serve. Volunteers make up a large portion of the center’s offerings, playing live music, instructing those new to pickleball, or providing counsel. Places to serve and to be served. To encourage seniors, and their loved ones, to discover the power of these connections, find a new hobby and other opportunities, Senior Friendship Centers is hosting the following events to celebrate Senior Center Month: Sarasota Campus | 1888 Brother Geenen Way, Sarasota: SFC Sarasota Campus Program Fair | September 20| 10 AM – 2 PM - Discover a variety of classes, including Tai Chi, Ballroom Dance, Language Classes, Dance Fitness, Sing-along, and Book Club. Volunteer Instructors are available for question and answer. Aging Well – Let’s Talk Safety (Fall Prevention) | September 20 | 10 AM -11 AM - Learn the safest way to operate equipment in your home for yourself and your loved one through hands-on demonstrations presented by Adaptive Equipment & Caregiving Corner. AECorner.com. In the early 1970s, our founder Brother William Geenen, SFC founder, picked up on the national crisis of isolation when he said, “Isolation and loneliness are the malnutrition of aging.” During National Senior Center Month and beyond, let us unite to combat senior isolation, celebrating the power of connection as a cornerstone of finding meaning and purpose. For more information about our programs and services, please call (941) 955-2122 or visit www.friendshipcenters.org.

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