By Corky Savoie / For The Herald
As a member of the community and a senior of many years I wonder who will be there for us when this lockdown is over?
When the lockdown went into effect, one of the things that gave me hope and comfort was that I always thought that my life would get back to normal once we were again allowed to socialize.
Suddenly, I was notified that the core of many seniors’ lives will never be the same again. Everett’s Carl Gibson Senior Center suddenly shut its doors with the notice that it wouldn’t reopen again for at least this year and possibly next, if ever, because of budget cuts. This notice came suddenly, after the lockdown, and without any warning. This announcement left many of us stunned as we always thought there would be another chance to see our friends and now it is as if a death has occurred in our lives!
We have a very vulnerable community of senior citizens who rely on the activities of this center for many of their needs. Many no longer drive, but still come to enjoy the daily reasonably priced, nutritionally balanced lunches with friends (Many of these citizens receive the only balanced meal of their day at the center.)
One of the joys of advanced age is being able to connect with likeminded people. This keeps the isolation away and encourages community, which in turn encourages a vibrant lifestyle. All these things have been taken away with the closing of our senior center.
For many it is the hub of their daily activity and the reason they get out of bed in the morning. The center not only is a destination for the body, but a stimulation to the mind: classes, exercise, nurse assistance, nutrition, etc. This center was a hub for all over the age of 50 who wished to connect with others in the same age group.
We must not ignore our obligation to our senior community in this age of social isolation. The isolation order will be lifted, but the many citizens who rely on the Carl Gipson Senior Center will not have that haven for them to return to when that happens. Many will live in the constant silence of their homes, the lack of help should they need it, and the total isolation that happens when no community is available to reach out to for help.
This special group of people deserve to have a place to go for their needs to be met. Many have given much to us: many are veterans, teachers, nurses, factory workers, people who have given their all for us in past years and now deserve the same.
I urge the city of Everett to rethink its decision to use the closure of the Carl Gibson Senior Center as a means to help solve their budget problems. Surely there is another answer to keeping the Senior Center open to all those people who have given us so much throughout their lives and have come to rely on this very active center for their daily activities, for their very existence in many cases.
Corky Savoie lives in Lake Stevens.