Letter: The benefits of the Senior Center

Dear Mr. Glenn Beaton,

How fortunate you are that you do not need any of the services provided by Pitkin County’s Senior Center, at least not now. Unlike you, there are many seniors in Pitkin County who do benefit from its services, like meals provided through the nutrition program, transportation to doctor appointments, technical assistance on the use of computers, exercise classes designed for seniors, foot-care clinics, information about Medicare, taxes, health services, etc.

I suggest you have lunch at the Senior Center one day, sit with a group of seniors and participate in the conversation to broaden your perspective. Come earlier and check out the exercise classes and stay afterward to see the social interaction in various activities. In fact, I’d enjoy meeting you there.

Also take a moment, well, more than a moment, to go online and read the final report of Pitkin County’s Aging Well Community Planning Initiative completed in 2014. You will find the county statistics on the increasing growth of the 60-plus population and that 40 percent reported experiencing problems from physical to mental health to financial issues.

Regarding the Silver Sneakers program — it is a program paid for by health insurance companies that allows seniors to utilize specific gyms around the country at no cost to the senior. Apparently some insurance companies have found that paying for gym use reduces the cost of providing health insurance when seniors exercise regularly. Fortunately, the Aspen Recreaction Center participates. I also used my Silver Sneakers card at a fancy, private, participating gym in Maryland, so the reimbursement schedule can’t be too bad for business.

The free technical assistance available for using computers and other tech devices is provided by students from Aspen High School’s Circle of Friends Club. I doubt that the local I-Pro and Verizon stores are pondering the loss of business from seniors coming in with questions about how to use their devices. On the matter of the free foot-care clinic, it is provided by students from Colorado Mountain College’s nursing program when the college is in session. These, and others, are hardly welfare programs, but rather a coordination of volunteer services.

So, Mr. Beaton, luckily for you, the fine staff of our tax-supported Aspen Valley Hospital helped save your life. Hopefully you will experience a change in your now healthy heart to appreciate that the Pitkin County Senior Center is providing valuable services to our community.

Note: I am a member of Pitkin County’s Senior Advisory Council but the opinion expressed is mine alone and not that of the county or the council.

Debbie Overeynder