Like many of the nearly 750 active members of Sanibel's Center4Life, Sandi McDougall is almost always on the go.
But whether she is teaching an aerobics class at the Library Way facility or surfing the Internet for new ideas for events and activities to be held there, McDougall is much more than just the senior program administrator.
She is a perfect example that life doesn't have to slow down once you've reached your "golden years."
Sandi McDougall, senior program administrator at Sanibel's Center4Life, sits at her desk, where she often comes up with ideas for future events and activities.
"I really feed off of the energy of our members," said McDougall, former executive director at Partners For Breast Cancer Care. "One of the things that makes people want to keep coming back are the friendships they make here, whether it's taking a class together or sharing a cup of coffee afterwards. This is one of the top places to gather on Sanibel."
Last week, the latest issue of the Center4Life newsletter was mailed out to all of its members, with a number of first-time programs debuting along with the "regular" lineup of daily, weekly and monthly activities and events.
CarFit, which will be held at the center (corner of Library Way and Palm Ridge Road) on Friday, Nov. 4, was added at the suggestion of member Pat Macchia.
"We are always trying new ideas," explained McDougall. "If somebody has an idea for a program, we're willing to give it a shot as long as there are enough people interested in it."
During the CarFit program, which will be staged from noon to 4 p.m., representatives from the Lee County Sheriff's Office will offer instruction on how seniors can keep their vehicles "fit."
"Older drivers are often the safest drivers in that they are more likely to wear their seltbelts and less likely to speed or drink and drive," the program description states. "However, older drivers are more likely to be killed or seriously injured when a crash does occur due to the greater fragility of their aging bodies."
Driver safety programs may help improve safety by addressing cognitive abilities and skills as well as making adjustments to a vehicle's seats and mirrors to properly "fit" its driver. A CarFit check takes approximately 20 minutes to complete.
The Center4Life's monthly "Discovering Florida Daytrips" will offer excursions to Miami, St. Petersburg, Sarasota and Ybor City (Historic Tampa) this coming season, highlighted by the Cajun Christmas Tour (Dec. 4-9) trip to New Orleans.
McDougall is especially excited about the November Potluck (Wednesday, Nov. 16 at 5:30 p.m.) which, for the first time, will also include an "All-Star Lip Sync Revue & Show."
"We're going to have our seniors performing songs, and some of the 'stars' will include Sonny & Cher and Lady Gaga," said McDougall, who noted that attendees should bring hors d'oeuvres that doesn't need silverware; desserts will be provided by the Center4Life. Cost is $5 per person, with members admitted free. Space is limited to 40.
Other activities this fall will include:
Crime Prevention for the Elderly (Friday, Oct. 21 from 1 to 3 p.m.) - Free session will focus on educating seniors about recent scams and crimes targeting the elderly and how to prevent becoming a victim.
Wheat-Free/Gluten-Free Information Sessions *Tuesday, Oct. 25 at 10 a.m. or 1 p.m.) - Hosted by Bailey's General Store's Rachel Lammers, each one-hour seminar will discuss the benefits of wheat-free and gluten-free eating, including product tastings.
Leisure Lunchers (Wednesday, Nov. 9) - Lunch at Seasons 52 in North Naples at 11:30 a.m., followed by consignment shopping.
AARP Safe Driving Class (Thursdays, Nov. 10 and 17 from 1 to 4 p.m.) - Ed VanderHey will offer instructions on how to improve driver safety. Participants must attend both sessions. Those who complete the class may receive a discount on their auto insurance.
Holiday Bazaar (Saturday, Nov. 12 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.) - All of the vendor tables have sold out, ensuring what is sure to become one of the best homemade goods and hand-crafted events Sanibel has ever seen!
Trash & Treasures Sale (Saturday, Nov. 19 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.) - Want to clean out some of your gently-used household items, sporting goods, linens, jewelry and collectibles? Here is the places to buy and sell, open to the entire community.
Sanibel-Captiva Lions Club Diabetes Screening (Friday, Dec. 9 from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.) - Attendees will be screened on a first come, first served basis. Included is a glaucoma test.
For the first time, the Center4Life will offer outings to the Naples Philharmonic this season, in addition to performances at the Barbara B. Mann and Florida Repertory Theater.
"For a $20 membership per year, it's quite a bargain," added McDougall. "That gives you discounts on all of our programs and classes throughout the year, many of which are free to attend. And the biggest benefit is that you're supporting our center. We have such great members... I can't say enough about them."
Additional information about the Center4Life is available by calling 472-5743 Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. For other inquiries, send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.