CMH Senior Health Center celebrates 10 year anniversary
Bolivar couple remembers CMH Senior Health Center’s first day
Almost every morning around 8 a.m. you will find Sharon and Richard Coffey exercising at the Citizens Memorial Hospital Senior Health Center. They have been coming since the very first day it opened on Jan. 26, 2004.
The CMH Senior Health Center’s 10 year anniversary is quickly approaching and the Coffeys look back on that day fondly. The newly painted parking lot had a slippery glaze of ice coating it when the center director, Jody Pool, arrived that morning. She discovered that the parking lot was still barricaded from construction done the previous night. Richard Coffey and John Bayer, having never met before, helped Pool move the barricades. Soon after, the Coffeys, Bayer and his wife, Pat, became close friends.
“When we opened the Senior Health Center, what we weren’t expecting was the social aspect,” Pool explains. “We’ve even had people who [met here and] got married.” Socialization at the center has been vital to its success and it continues to bring members back. Not only are older adults getting the exercise they need to be healthy, but they are provided a social network and environment as well.
“It’s fun to be around friends,” Sharon Coffey says. “That’s why we come every day.” The Coffeys also say they know that the exercise offered is good for them as well.
Back in 2004, the CMH Senior Health Center only had nine pieces of exercise equipment, five volunteers, one chair class and the pool. Today they have 35 volunteers, 19 pieces of equipment, six aquatic classes, a floor exercise class and a hot tub with the pool. Last summer they also added Tai Chi, which is the latest addition to the classes offered. Some of the classes offered are senior-led classes where one of the members teaches the class.
Because of the senior-focused wellness programs and the free membership to those age 55 and older, the CMH Senior Health Center is a unique resource to the community. Members are not just from Bolivar, but from surrounding communities such as Buffalo, Stockton, Fairplay, Brighton, Pleasant Hope, Urbana, Humansville, and even close to Clinton.
The Senior Health Center is run almost completely by volunteers and Pool says they could always use more. Volunteers are kept busy since the center averages around 78 people per day and 19,380 visits per year.
The CMH Senior Health Center is located at 1840 W. Broadway in Bolivar, next to the Polk County Senior Center and the Roy Blunt YMCA. The center is open 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday and 8 a.m. – 7 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday. For information on how to join or volunteer at the CMH Senior Health Center, contact the CMH Information Center at 417-328-6010 or 888-328-6010 or citizensmemorial.com.
January 17, 2014