(BLOOMINGTON) – At a press conference held this morning at the Endwright East Active Living Community Center, Mayor John Hamilton announced the City’s intention to fund the center’s continued operation for 2020.
The mayor was joined at the 10:30 a.m. event at the center’s College Mall location by former Mayor Tomi Allison and Chris Myers, Chief Executive Officer of the Area 10 Agency on Aging.
“Attendance over the last six months shows us that this center meets important needs for our senior population,” said Mayor John Hamilton. “The City is grateful to continue partnering with Area 10 and IU Health to enhance the quality of life and foster a sense of connection for our seniors.”
The center opened June 18 as a six-month pilot program, with support from the Area 10 Agency on Aging, the City of Bloomington Parks and Recreation Department, the City of Bloomington Commission on Aging, Indiana University Health Bloomington Alzheimer’s Resource Service, and the College Mall (a Simon Mall). Together with in-kind contributions from the partnering agencies, the City’s commitment of $20,000 will allow the center to continue operating on its current schedule (Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10 a.m. through 3 p.m.) throughout 2020. A formal grant partnership agreement between the Parks Department and Area 10 will be presented for approval at the January 28 meeting of the Board of Parks Commissioners.
“The response to Endwright East has been incredibly positive,” said Area 10’s Myers. “Since opening only six months ago, we continue to receive overwhelming support and demand for our Bloomington-based center. We are pleased to work with great community partners in supporting healthy, active living of our older adults. Now we look to 2020 to encourage it to grow, be responsive, and garner support for material needs and the call for adding program days.”
The first facility in the city dedicated to senior programming since 2009, Endwright East offers activities designed to address the social, health and wellness needs of the area’s older adults. Programming is developed at Area 10’s Ellettsville-based Endwright Center, with some educational programming offered by IU Health. Popular courses offered at the center include Strength, Balance & Flexibility, Chair Yoga, Balance with a Beat, Line Dancing, and Alive Inside. By October, 400 area seniors were registered as members of the center, which had received 673 individual visits during that month.
“The opportunity to connect to others is vital for our quality of life, as well as the health of our bodies and minds,” said Dayna Thompson, Alzheimer’s Educator with the IU Health Bloomington Alzheimer’s Resource Service. “Endwright East has provided an opportunity for people to interact, learn new things, and stay connected to others and the community.”
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 visits last year. IU Health Bloomington Alzheimer’s Resource Service provides additional support through its educational programs, support groups, and a resource library.