Center 4 Life plays an important role
To the editor:
The Center 4 Life has been an integral part of my life on Sanibel and the lives of many other seniors on the island. It has always embraced all of us — from age 50 to 90-plus without exception and we have counted on its consistent and familiar atmosphere week after week. It was not just a place to sit down and play a game and then leave. It was a place to be with others with similar experiences and needs; with others who were interested in you as a person with ups and downs, goals, happy days and sad ones. It was a warm and welcoming environment cherished by us “older” Sanibelians for its comfort and safety — a happy place with people who also knew how to effectively deal with sadness. Many many people used the center for many many things.
Sure we enjoyed the games and activities, but it’s the being with our friends in an atmosphere of understanding and companionship in a place that has been thoughtfully planned and orchestrated for our age groups. Many times members did not come to the center to play a game but rather to be with others. There were also those times someone just came to read a book or converse with a staff member. The Community House, Sanibel Recreation Center and any other place you may find to squeeze us into their schedule are not even close to being able to substitute for the Center 4 Life.
To hear now that it is being considered OK to have us break up and go to various locales “to play games” is very upsetting. One official told me she was sure that the seniors are capable of getting to the recreation center to do their exercise. Apparently she has no conception of the importance of the Center 4 Life to us. Exercise! That’s the least important of its functions for us. It is such a shallow view and lack of understanding of what the senior center is. Do you really think that going hither and yon on differing days to engage in a game will encourage seniors to want to go to any of the places that manage to make room for them? You do not seem to have any understanding about what the center provides.
Not following through on the original promise to make the former Sanibel Captiva Community Bank the next Center 4 Life in 13 months is a travesty. Now it is being thought that the center can wait another five years before being ready to open. We have been isolated for the last precious year already, sadly missing socialization, support and activity, and you want to make it so much longer. How can this even be considered?