Falmouth panel recommends town create a senior center

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FALMOUTH — A committee tasked with recommending services the town should provide to senior citizens is suggesting establishment of a senior center.

The seven-member Senior Citizen Advisory Committee has come up with a set of draft recommendations to present to the Town Council in October.

Dolores Vail, chairwoman of the committee, said the recommendations are based on feedback from nearly 200 surveys completed on the town’s website and at the polls in June. The committee also held a stakeholders meeting on Aug. 19 to hear feedback on the recommendations.

The first recommendation is the senior center.

Vail said this was a focus of the committee because there had been talk about the OceanView retirement community possibly creating such a center in the old Plummer School building. She said there had also been conversations about creating a center in the Mason-Motz building off Lunt Road, where Parks and Community Programs is now based.

“The overwhelming thought was the senior center should be at Mason-Motz,” she said.

Vail said the survey results indicated approximately 30 percent of those who responded would use a senior center regularly, and another third said they might use it. Vail also said the senior center would have to have a kitchen of some kind.

“As with any senior center that is up and running and successful, meals or lunches are an important part. Food goes along with getting together and getting to know people,” she said.

Vail said she has always wanted to see a senior center established in town, so there would be a place for those who have lost spouses, loved ones, friends, or health to go and remain active.

“As you get older these things happen,” she said. “It’s something we are hoping will be come a true part of the town.”

The second recommendation is to provide services at the center, which is why the Mason-Motz facility was chosen.

The third recommendation is to support the development of a volunteer transportation network, and the fourth is to hire a senior services coordinator.

The final recommendation the committee is making is to extend its term for another year. The panel is scheduled to expire after the recommendations are presented to the council.

“In the short amount of time we’ve had we haven’t been able to address things like transportation and other issues seniors are faced with,” Vail said.

Vail said in the course of gathering information, the committee has also met and heard from counterparts in neighboring communities, including Cumberland and Cape Elizabeth. Vail said if their term is extended, members will next try to meet with officials from Yarmouth.

Colin Ellis can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 123 or cellis@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @colinoellis.

Falmouth’s Senior Citizen Advisory Committee is recommending creation of a senior center in the Mason-Motz building.

Reporter covering the Portland Public School District as well as the town of Falmouth for The Forecaster. Can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 123 or cellis@theforecaster.net.