Older Oregonians were among the hardest hit by forced isolation during the pandemic, but Redmond’s Senior Center aims to help bring back a sense of normalcy.
“It’s very important for me to have a place, my wife and I go to art shows, we go to all sorts of things, but this is different,” said 80-year-old Tom McEneany. “This is a place where you can talk with people who have lived as long as you have and can tell you about their lives and you can tell them about yours.”
McEneany has enjoyed meals and other events AT the Redmond senior center for over six years.
“As you get old and friends start dying and family members start dying and you find yourself maybe at the top of your family, how did that happen,” McEneany asked. “So, it’s just nice not to be isolated and only in your home.
COVID forced the senior center to close for over a year.
“It was very difficult,” McEneany added. “I am a homebody now, partly because of my age and partly because I like reading, listening to music, watching Netflix, but I don’t like isolation, so that was hard, it was really hard, and it was hard not to see the friends that you made here. So, I missed it a great deal.”
Wednesday, it reopened.
“It means … It’s just wonderful,” he said. “It is really wonderful to see people again.”
A group of around 50 seniors enjoyed food, listening to music, welcoming each other back into their lives once again.
“It’s a celebration of the community coming together over the past year to support those isolated older adults and talk about the future and where we want the center to go as a hub of the community here in Redmond,” said Redmond Senior Center Board President Maureen Dooley.
McEneany is excited to hear stories again from people who have a world of experience.
“It’s just nice to be a part of that and know it’s going to be here for my waning years,” McEneany said. “I mean that. That means a lot to me.”
The Redmond Senior Center continues to provide meals on wheels deliveries and virtual services for those not ready to come back into the facility.