I don’t care how you refer to those members of society we consider wise—whether it’s “seniors,” “elders,” or a disrespectful term such as “old folks.” Those of us who know best know that nearly every town or city has its own Senior Center. It’s a place for retirees and such to gather and congregate for a daily meeting, to hang out and engage in activity and sometimes fill a void of loneliness with friendships or a life companion. Yet after surveying a group of seniors from the city of Coachella, it turns out there isn’t much going for them in their community.
According to some of the folks living in the Somerset track homes near the Augustine Casino on Avenue 54, between Harrison and Van Buren, there’s nothing to do for seniors but take their limited income to the casino and push a button on a colorful, noisy slot machine for several hours, hoping to double their money.
On the other hand, Coachella’s Mayor Eduardo Garcia says that not only is the Coachella Senior Center busy—it offers classes such as yoga and has a plethora of activities. To top it off, it’s open from Monday through Thursday and offers special transportation from the citizens’ homes to the center and back. There’s so much demand for the Senior Center that the citizens are pushing for it to be open on Friday as well, Mayor Garcia said. Unfortunately, due to the economy and cutbacks, the city is not able to accommodate that request, he said.
So the big question is—why are some citizens informed about the services offered to them and some are not? On the City of Coachella website, it clearly states under the Residents tab, when you click on Senior Services, everything the city offers to the senior citizens of Coachella. Services such as translation, home visiting, recreation, notary, physical fitness, health promotion/disease program, health screening, and a health program are offered, according to the website. Unfortunately, the problem might be that seniors aren’t as computer or internet savvy as their younger counterparts. How many seniors nowadays are with the times? There are so many seniors that are afraid or refuse to change their ways. These are the same people who may make or break the newspaper business.
As the old saying goes, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” In other words, maybe the Mayor’s office needs to reach the other folks in his city who have no idea about this booming Senior Center and all of its activities by getting personal with his city. Go door-to-door and hand out fliers about the center. If the same people complain that there’s nothing going on, then it’s not the city’s fault—it’s the people. After all, the Mayor did state in a news conference held by Coachella Unincorporated that the average age in Coachella is 24, which means that there shouldn’t be too many doors to knock on.