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ISO: A magic wand for Santa Clarita’s seniors

Out of My Head

Posted: August 16, 2008 9:24 p.m.
Updated: October 18, 2008 5:02 a.m.
 

Among the numerous reporter note pad destinations I’ve known through the years, one has always held a special place in my heart: The Santa Clarita Valley Senior Center.

Each time I enter the center’s doors, a cascade of emotions fills me: many related to life’s precious timeline, and further proof that all too quickly young whippersnappers turn into graying elders. All I really need is a mirror to confirm that belief.

Last month I began viewing the Senior Center with a revised perspective: I am now one of its employees, organizing health, wellness, and consumerism lectures for seniors, putting together flu clinics and health fairs, promoting awareness about the center’s programs and adult day care, and various other Senior Center goings-on.

At the Senior Center, I am soberly reminded that many difficult challenges come with age — particularly in societies such as ours that don’t possess a strong regard for the “un-young.” While in certain cultures the elderly are given tremendous respect and attention, ours is not always so doting.

Getting old is just not that sexy or popular. But it’s something we all face. In fact, by the year 2030, one out of every five U.S. citizens will be a senior citizen.

If I could wave a magic wand I would do it over 22900 Market St. There with a twist of my wrist and dramatic “abracadabra” chant, I would transform our increasingly old-ish, way-too-small SCV Senior Center into a sparkling, state-of-the-art complex.

I’d make it something that’s far more spacious, user friendly, and visually stimulating than what we have today — and certainly more a esthetically congruent with our vibrant, progressive Santa Clarita Valley.

Supported though grants and donations, yet severely affected by inflation, budget cuts, and the rising number of seniors using its programs and facilities, the Senior Center needs all the helping hands it can get.

The building is tired, with peeling, much-dated paint and walls that need repair. It is also a crammed facility, and what’s there in the way of furnishings, appliances, and technology is also old or exhausted hand-me-downs.

Through the years, thousands of people across our valley have benefited from the center via its many programs and activities, supportive counseling, informational lectures, trips, respite day care, home-delivered meals, etc. If each of their families would donate just $5 to $10 a month, we could wave a magic wand on our own and seriously start fixing the place up.

When you believe in someone or something, you want the best for them, right? I see its positive effects every time I look in the eyes of someone with Alzheimer’s, as they perk up in the center’s stimulating milieu and their otherwise lagging synapses start firing. I see it at lunchtime when congregate meals assure that widows and widowers will not eat alone that afternoon. I see it when they line up to board a bus for trips and tours, wearing the same excited expressions they had as youngsters.

I also see it when our home-delivered meals trucks start rolling out of the parking lot, knowing that frail, homebound seniors will soon receive a hot meal and much-valued “hello,” oftentimes the only pampering and human interaction they’ll know that day.

What I ask here is for you to join me and everyone else at 22900 Market Street, and help make our Senior Center a better, more contemporary and inviting haven for our seniors. Please support our fundraisers — that assistance is appreciated and so important. Many gold-hearted people are behind those efforts and we value them greatly.

One way to help is through supporting our annual wine auction fundraiser, which takes place on Sept. 27 at Mann Biomedical Park in Valencia. Another way is through supporting our Celebrity Waiter Dinner, which will be held in February at the Hyatt. If you’re a large corporation or philanthropist, why not consider making the Senior Center’s refurbishment and upkeep a charitable goal?

To learn more about how you can support the Senior Center go online to www.scvseniorfoundation.org.

Diana Sevanian is a Santa Clarita resident. Her column reflects her own views and not necessarily those of The Signal.

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