by ANNA GROOVER
While most Bloomington residents head to College Mall to peruse racks of clothing or maybe have lunch, Deborah Hill recently found herself in the mall for an entirely different reason: to attend a low-impact dance class at the new Endwright East Active Living Community Center.
“I find that it’s terrific exercise,” Hill says. “And it’s fun. I love to dance. I have a husband who won’t dance.” Hill, 76, has taken dance classes at the Area 10 Agency on Aging’s Endwright Center in Ellettsville, but says the new satellite location is more convenient.
Bloomington has lacked a senior programming facility for a decade. Now Hill and other seniors can attend programming at Endwright East, which opened June 18 next to Macy’s. The center is open Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. during a six-month pilot period.
The project came to fruition through a partnership between Area 10, the City of Bloomington Parks and Recreation Department, the City of Bloomington Commission on Aging, and IU Health Bloomington’s Alzheimer’s Resource Service. Endwright East is funded by a grant from the City of Bloomington’s Jack Hopkins Social Services Funding Committee.
Many programs are free. If a program has a fee, vouchers are available for those demonstrating financial need.
As a pilot program, the center is eager to collect input from Bloomington’s senior community. Mayor John Hamilton says the trial and error method is a hallmark of his administration. “We like to try things out. We like to experiment,” he says.
Programs at Endwright East include exercise classes, art classes, and even potlucks during the lunch hour. “It actually goes beyond the mind, body, and spirit needs and addresses the social isolation needs of seniors,” says Chris Myers, Area 10 CEO.
According to Myers, seniors may face social isolation as loved ones pass away and children leave the nest. Chatting with a few other folks while painting or playing a game can combat this loneliness. “We need to support everyone’s dignity of life,” she says.
For more information, call Endwright East at 812-272-4808 or visit magbloom.com/endwright-east.