(BLOOMINGTON) – Bloomington’s newest resource for older adults, the Endwright East Active Living Community Center will open its doors Tuesday, June 18 in the College Mall.
Supported by a grant from the City of Bloomington’s Jack Hopkins Social Services Funding Committee that was approved by the Common Council June 12, the pilot program will offer quality programming and a social community gathering space for seniors.
Endwright East is a collaboration between the Area 10 Agency on Aging, the City of Bloomington Parks and Recreation Department, the City of Bloomington Commission on Aging, and IU Health Bloomington Alzheimer’s Resource Service.
“This partnership aims to support our city’s older adult population with best practices learned through the valuable experience of our partners — Area 10 and IU Health — and our own Parks and Recreation staff and Commission on Aging,” said Mayor John Hamilton. “This pilot program brings together existing resources and expertise to enrich the lives of our seniors.”
Endwright East will host a ribbon cutting at 11 a.m. on Thursday, June 20, when the center will also host an open house from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Highlights of the open house include live demonstrations beginning at 1 p.m. of what to expect in a low impact dance class and a “balance with a beat” chair class.
The first facility in the city dedicated to senior programming since 2009, the new center will operate Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. (except for holidays) in the former Payless Shoesource space next to Macy’s in the College Mall. Extending programming developed at Area 10’s Ellettsville-based Endwright Center, with some educational programming offered by IU Health, Endwright East will offer activities designed to address social, along with health and wellness needs. Although much of the center’s programming will be offered free of charge, the City’s Commission on Aging will offer voucher assistance to those with financial need for classes offered at a fee.
“We are looking forward to serving the older adults in Bloomington who have not had access to a dedicated senior facility,” said Area 10 Agency on Aging Chief Executive Officer Chris Myers. “Initially we just want to open the doors and be responsive to the needs of our visitors, and learn from them how we can develop programming that most enhances their daily life.”
Programming will evolve at the new center in response to input from those using the facility, with the long-term goal of providing an intergenerational experience. After the pilot period, the partners will evaluate the center’s success to determine future plans.
“We look forward to this new partnership as a venue to provide additional programming and community services to support those living with or caring for those with dementia,” said Dayna Thompson, director of IU Health Bloomington Alzheimer’s Resource Service. “Endwright East will also provide access to other Community Health screenings and education opportunities.”
In addition to the new center, the partnering organizations currently offer a range of programming to support the social and health needs of the area’s older adults. More than 700 seniors pursue sports and recreational activities daily at the City’s Twin Lakes Recreation Center (TLRC).
Additionally, the Parks and Recreation Department has for more than forty years hosted a 50+ Expo, showcasing services, screenings, opportunities, and products geared toward the area’s seniors. Area 10’s Endwright Center has a membership of 350 at the Ellettsville facility, where older adults have the opportunity to connect with one another in music groups, art classes, and book clubs, among other programs. Usage of the Endwright Center by members and non-members totaled almost 16,000 last year.
IU Health Bloomington Alzheimer’s Resource Service provides additional support through its educational programs, support groups, and a resource library.