The West Ouachita Senior Center is a United Way nonprofit agency, established in 1980, that provides recreational events and activities, preventive health services, and other programs to senior citizens in Monroe, LA. The city organized the event at the Henrietta Johnson Community Center starting at 10 a.m., so that older people would encourage them to come together and participate in the community. Activities ranged from simple chair aerobics to playing and sharing something to eat. Community centers serve as centers for the community, said Patience Talley, director of Monroe City Community Centers and Programs.
Talley said the facilities not only offer recreational activities, but also social programs and workforce development. The Benoit Community Center, located at 1700 Oaklawn Drive, offers free sewing classes on Wednesdays, exercise on Tuesdays and Thursdays, a monthly job fair, the movie of the month every fourth Friday, a program for older adults on Thursdays, coffee and conversations for people over 55 on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and basketball and soccer programs from the Monroe City Athletic League. The Center for the Elderly provides safe and reliable transportation to destinations in Ouachita Parish with wheelchair accessible buses and vans. Azalea Estates of Monroe is designed for seniors who can live independently but who want the additional care, support, and companionship of a community environment for older people.
Brenda Wade, center supervisor at the Benoit Community Center, says events like Funfest help older people feel important in their communities. Wade says that interactive opportunities for older people in the community help improve their overall social well-being. Azalea Estates of Monroe offers the ideal solution for older people who value their independence, but who need help with daily activities. It provides seniors with more time to focus on choosing health and wellness activities or leisure activities offered by Azalea Estates or on traveling, shopping, and cultural events in the Monroe metropolitan area. Every year, more than 5,000 older people receive services that help them age in a healthy way at the Center for the Elderly.
The program also provides West Monroe families and children with the tools needed to succeed. In conclusion, senior citizens in Monroe have access to a variety of recreational activities that can help them stay active and engaged in their community. From simple chair aerobics to basketball and soccer programs from the Monroe City Athletic League to Azalea Estates of Monroe's health and wellness activities or leisure activities – there are plenty of options available for seniors to stay healthy and connected.