By Erin Freeman | Lynnwood Times Staff
When the coronavirus pandemic began almost eight months ago, the Lynnwood Senior Center strove to ensure that they could continue to serve their community, transforming their service model to adhere to social distancing and safety precautions.
As the final standing senior center in Snohomish County, it serves older adults between 62 and 105 years old throughout the greater Lynnwood area. It continues to stand throughout the coronavirus pandemic, serving its population through a variety of Zoom video conferencing software- mostly exercise classes meeting several times a week- and curbside events.
“Thank you for all the work you’ve done putting in a place a safe and enjoyable environment…things will be different, but we will adapt and accept necessary changes. A big thank you for all that you’ve done,” read a note that the center received from a member, who wished to remain anonymous.
Senior center staff put together some outdoor programming as well, one being a nature photography class that had participants socially distant from one another on trails practicing taking photographs. In terms of personal services, the senior center is only offering footcare services due to its allowance for individually scheduled appointments with specific safety protocols enacted.
At the beginning of the pandemic, the senior center began calling people throughout the community, making at least 4,000 outreach calls since March to stay connected with their members. For Mary-Anne Grafton, recreation supervisor of the senior center, their outreach throughout the pandemic is just one example of their continued commitment to its community.
“Our community is our focus and our priority…nobody knew what was happening; it was scary,” said Grafton. “We wanted to keep people updated about what was going on here while informing them about resources.”
Standing as the final senior center in the surrounding area comes with quite a bit of responsibility, explains Grafton, saying that its continuation signifies Lynnwood’s commitment to maintaining the social infrastructure necessary for community members following their retirement.
“After you retire your next community isn’t provided for you and so this center is a really important place of connection and access to learning new skills, meeting new people, maintaining relationships, having fun and fitness,” said Grafton. “With these elements in mind, people’s need for these have continued throughout the pandemic.”
Grafton says she and her staff are trying to do as much as they can to continue to serve as many community members as they can, with the ability to accommodate anybody through Zoom classes.
“My only reason for being here is to serve the community and you will find that across the city of Lynnwood throughout all city departments,” said Grafton. It’s a common workplace value you’re going to find here. I see people live that truth all the time.”
The easiest way to connect with the Lynnwood senior center is to give them a call at 425-375-5050, says Grafton.
“If you have an idea for a class we can do or would like to volunteer to lead a program, I would love to talk with you to see if we can make that happen,” said Grafton, speaking outwardly to the community.