New senior center is attracting more men
CHICOPEE – With the opening of the new RiverMills Center, attendance has increased, especially within one key demographic group: men.
Council of Aging (COA) Executive Director Sandra Lapollo told Reminder Publications that the opening of the new senior center last year she has seen a dramatic increase in men using the facility and its offerings.
Lapollo said that she is currently working on comparison of the use of the new building with that of the former center. She has been picking days randomly and looked at the attendance.
She said that women tend to be more social while traditionally older men have been more inclined to stay at home.
The use of the new fitness room at RiverMills has been one example, she noted. Senior men are using the exercise equipment and programs offered there. The increase in use is “dramatic.”
The new billiards rooms and other program have attracted more men, she added. “It adds so much more to their lives,” Lapollo added.
Having such a state-of-the-art facility is important, Lapollo said for the future of the city. By 2020, 28 percent of the city is expected to be age 60 and older. She said, “Chicopee is such a family-oriented community. People tend to stay here.”
Lapollo said the center is still awaiting some of its furniture and Mayor Richard Kos is reviewing a request for it. To save money, some of the furniture from the former center has been used and in the COA office, there are desks that were recycled from City Hall, she said.
“There is still some furniture needs,” she said. The café and the library are awaiting chairs and tables.
Like the center itself, the requested furniture is designed for older people, Lapollo explained. Chairs need arms which seniors use as support and plastic furniture can make older people feel colder.
Lapollo said she is proud of the efforts made by the city to serve its seniors.
"I think it’s good to be an older adult in Chicopee,” she said.