Senior Advisory Board seeking feedback from community

Amy Riggins

Greetings Shawnee! How about these colder temps this week? It finally feels a bit more like winter! Snow on the ground is pretty, even if it doesn’t last too long. Oklahoma weather always brings a surprise, so if you don’t like it, just wait a few hours!

There are lots of Senior Happenings going on at the Senior Center on 401 N. Bell and the Community Center on 804 S. Park. Both are managed by the City of Shawnee Recreation Department, and it is our goal to provide on-going recreational activities and special events for seniors aged 55+ at both locations.

Speaking of seniors, do you like that term? I could have said individuals aged 55+, or people aged 55+. Since we operate the Senior Center and this article is entitled Senior Happenings, it makes sense that I use the term senior. But if you are aged 55+, do you think of yourself as a senior? Or are seniors older? At a certain age, the term senior seems to fit, but what is that certain age? 65? 75? 85?

And while we are on this topic, what is a senior? There are lots of terms we could use which might sound different. Retired? Mature adult? Older? Elder? Senior discount eligible? The term senior is short senior citizen, but what does it actually represent? A generation? An age range? Persons born during a specific time frame? Or has our use of senior changed over the years?

Many folks have weighed in on this issue during my time here.

Our facilities provide activities for ages 55+, so we tend to lump everyone in that age category into the term senior.

During one recent conversation, I mentioned I am actually a senior, since I am 58. A man looked at me and said “You aren’t a senior, you’re too young! I’m 87, I’m a senior. You’re just a ‘junior senior!’” While I appreciate the humor of his statement, it does raise the question of what being a senior actually means.

The new City of Shawnee Senior Advisory Board is looking for feedback and suggestions regarding this very question as well as planning future programs for seniors. They would love to hear your insights personally. Current Senior Advisory Board members include John Belzer, Anna Brown, Phyllis Croswell, Ann Dowdy, Bobbi Gaglia, Shirley Gregory, Bill Haley, Wanda Hill, Albert Rice, Pam Robinson, and Ben Salter.

At this point, we’d like to get your comments. What does being a senior mean to you? Do you consider yourself a senior? If not, why not? Should we even use that term anymore? And if not, what term could we use? Please feel free to share your ideas with any board members directly, or you can drop me an email at to share your perspective. Letters can be mailed to City of Shawnee Recreation, PO Box 1448, Shawnee 74802-1448. You could also call us at 405-878-1528 to let us know that you think, or better yet, stop by the Shawnee Senior Center in person. Or should I say the 55+ Center?

Anyway, back to the weather. During the winter months, staying healthy when it is cold outside is so important, and a challenge for many. To help promote well-being, we encourage you to keep your body moving. This helps increase both overall health and fitness, and we provide lots of ways to stay active! A Chair Fitness class is offered Monday through Thursday at the Community Center, meeting at 11:00-11:45 a.m. with Angie. This fitness class is designed with exercises which can be performed while sitting in a chair, and all fitness levels are welcome.

At the Senior Center a full selection of fitness classes can be found. Enhance Fitness with Beth 8:30-9:30 a.m. on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday; Tai Chi for Better Balance with Cyndi on Tuesday and Thursday at 8:15-9:15 a.m.; Restorative Stretching with Angie at 9:40-10:40 a.m. on Monday and Wednesday; and Forever Strong with Angie at 9:30-10:30 a.m. on Tuesday and Thursday; Tai Chi for Better Balance with Randy on Mondays and Wednesday at 4:00-4:45 p.m.

Come try a fitness class for yourself, and remember, all fitness classes are free for those aged 55+. Other options for staying active include Pickleball in the Municipal Auditorium at designated times, shooting hoops, or walking in the gym each weekday morning. Don’t see something you like? Let us know what you’d like to see us add in the future!

Social wellness is just as important as physical wellness, and you can find lots to do at both the Community Center and the Senior Center: Card games, dominoes, Bingo, billiards, Pinochle, Bible study, discussion groups, quilting, crocheting, crafts, workshops, singing Gospel songs, listening to live Country music, dancing, and more. If you don’t have our current calendar, please stop by either location to pick one up, or call us at 405-878-1528 and we will be happy to mail you a copy.

Thanks for reading and be sure to tune in to hear more about Senior happenings on the “Mike in the Morning” Show aired each Wednesday mornings at 8:35 a.m. on KGFF 1040 AM/100.9 FM. 

As always, we look forward to seeing YOU at one of the CENTERS!