The conference table was filled all the way around. The attendees all sipped steaming tea and coffee from black mugs and listened attentively to the presenting speakers.
The senior discovery group at the Allen Neighborhood Center boasts “pretty good coffee and great conversation” as a way for senior community members to connect socially and learn something new each week. The group has been meeting on a weekly basis since October 2000.
“You start to retire, and you lose a lot of your social group,” senior discovery group member Carole Rosebrook said. “This is a great way to maintain connections and make friends.”
The group meets every Wednesday from 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. in the Allen Marketplace classroom. Each week, they feature a guest speaker to share information with the group, according to Allen Neighborhood Center health and housing coordinator Aurora Seelye.
“Their favorite guest speakers are the international students that come from MSU,” Seelye said. “They also really enjoyed the speakers that came on Indigenous People’s Day to talk about come misconceptions in the media today.”
The speaker topics are often chosen by the attendees.
“Recently, they chose to have a conversation about pain management,” Seelye said. “I believe the next topic will be about depression and how depression changes with aging.”
When the weather is nice, the meetings take place outside.
“Sometimes they’ll go down to Hunter Park and play bocce ball,” Seelye said. “They’ll go for walks or have a crafts and movie day.”
Marilyn Roberts has been attending these meetings for several years. In fact, she used to bring her mother to the discovery group.
“It’s a good social outing,” Roberts said. “And you’ll learn a lot every week. Sometimes, they even bring people back on a repeated basis because they have a wealth of information to share.”
The meetings also allow for more reasons for the seniors to get out of the house. The guest speakers often bring forth volunteering opportunities. They are also an opportunity to meet friends to attend social events outside of the meetings.
“I met Marilyn here,” Rosebrook said. “And now we go to concerts, to the dance, and just get the chance to get out of the house more.”
These weekly discovery meetings mean that the seniors can look forward to socialization and connection to put a smile on their faces.
The Senior Discovery Group can be found at the Allen Neighborhood Center at 1611 E Kalamazoo St in Lansing.