Tom Salemi on his blog, Newburyport Posts asks a very important question, and a question I think that many people ask themselves as well. And that is, since a Senior Center is going to cost the city of Newburyport, MA money, why not save that money, and have the much needed services scattered around the city in various places.
And let’s face it. That’s a very good question, one that I’ve been giving a lot of thought to.
And there are still a few families in Newburyport, MA that are lucky enough, that Mom and/or Dad have sons, daughter, sisters, brothers, nieces, nephews, who either still could afford to live in town, or at least would be able to live nearby. But even families who have grown up in Newburyport, MA find themselves in the “modern” world, where loved ones have jobs and lives that are not so close to home.
And many of us who have moved to Newburyport, MA, since urban renewal took place in the 1970’s really do not have family members who live in the area at all. And this poses a dilemma.
And what I have noticed is that loneliness is one of the biggest culprits. Sitting in a small 2 room apartment, day after day, with only the television, maybe, to keep one company, would be soul numbing, to say the least. And this is what many of our senior population are faced with. Maybe that’s something that’s not a lot of fun to think about, but it is true.
And the other thing that I’ve noticed, is that when there is something physically or emotionally that is not right, it is very difficult, even more so as one gets older, to say in an instant, or even an hour, what exactly what that “might not be right” could be. It often takes days with someone trusted, to figure out, not only the general problem, but the nuances of the situation.
If there is a place to go, a trusted place, and one would go on a regular basis, there is “time.” Time to talk through what seems to be happening. Time for folks who are familiar with each other, to notice what is happening. Time to think through solutions to a problem that makes some sort of sense.
In short, a Senior Center would be a meeting location, that could often take the place of “family,” that in this day and age is often scattered and sometimes fractured, and simply, in reality, often not there, to provide very basic interactions, that were once a part of everyday life.
Mary Eaton, Newburyport