The new Falmouth Senior Center will be opening its doors to the public at the end of the month.
“We’re all eager to open and get people in and take advantage of services and programs we offer,” said Senior Services director Jill Irving Bishop. “I can’t wait for people to see the building and use the space.”
The opening is multi-phased to allow time to bring back staff and volunteers and get them up to speed, and to alleviate crowds.
“We want people to feel safe in a small group environment as we continue to deal with COVID,” she said. “Please be patient as we ramp up in-person programs and services over the following weeks.”
The center’s opening will come in three phases.
From June 7 to June 18, staff, volunteers, instructors and group leaders will go through an orientation, training and small group building tours. The building will remain closed to the public.
From June 21 to June 29, Falmouth residents age 60 and older will have the opportunity for early enrollment sign-ups and group building tours by appointment. Call the Senior Center at 508-540-0196 to schedule a time.
The building will fully open to the public on June 30. There will be a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 10 AM.
Masks will be required as long as the town mask mandate in public buildings is in effect.
It was a decade-long process to get replace the former center on Dillingham Avenue as the location for a new center was disputed, with the Main Street location finally winning support.
The design, permitting and construction of the two-story senior center was funded through a debt exclusion override in May 2017. Construction began in late 2018 and it was completed on time and on budget. A grand opening was planned for March 20, 2020, but was cancelled amid the pandemic.
The new building will offer more and varied different services and programs than it could at its previous, smaller location on Dillingham Avenue. The town outgrew the Dillingham Avenue location as the town’s age 60-and-over population more than doubled since it was built in the 1970s. Ms. Irving Bishop expects participation to increase triple-fold. It also requires more manpower. She has five full-time staff and two part-time staff on the roster. A cadre of volunteers will be assisting the staff.
The building was designed to have flexible gathering spaces and maintain a homey, welcoming feel.
A welcome and check-in desk greets visitors as they enter the building. Farther down the wide corridor is the Chappy Café and library. All the rooms are named after Falmouth beaches. A fenced-in patio allows people to sit and relax in the sun. Connected to the area is a kitchen with a large island in the center, where cooking and nutrition classes will be offered as well as luncheons.
A multipurpose room adjoining the kitchen with high ceilings and windows will serve as programming and social spaces.
On the second floor, which can be accessed via an elevator or stairs, various services and programs will be available. People can meet with volunteer lawyers or technology support workers. Through a town contract with the Visiting Nurse Association, they can meet with a town nurse for a weekly health clinic. Social work, clinical services and a full-time outreach coordinator will be available to help seniors or their family members with any resources they might need. Seniors also will be able to participate in wellness programs or Medicare savings programs.
Bristol Room is also located upstairs and is for socializing on couches with a TV, or for playing games and is equipped with a pool and table tennis table.
The Heights Finish Line is the fitness room on the second floor and comes with cardio and strength-training equipment geared toward seniors. The center will also offer chair yaoga classes, poker, cardio and strength-training, crafts, men’s and women’s groups, and more.
Additional conference and program rooms are also located upstairs.
Even through the pandemic when the building was closed, staff and volunteers continued to offer services.
They delivered 6,4000 bags of groceries with the Falmouth Service Center to homebound seniors and continued with the transportation program and outreach counseling. Support groups and professional services continued as well using Zoom. Staff also helped seniors get vaccinated.