INDIANAPOLIS — During the pandemic, many senior citizens were isolated at home.
The Concord Neighborhood Center on the Near Southside kept in touch with their seniors through phone calls. But now, that has all changed.
Several times a week seniors gather for the center's new adult enrichment programming. It's a vision leaders had before the pandemic for adults over the age of 55.
"It literally couldn't take off," said Hallie Robbins, Concord Center's resource development coordinator.
No seniors entered the Meridian Street building from March to October of 2020. As mandates lifted and vaccines rolled out, people began coming back together.
Now, the Center is filled with laughter, socialization and activities.
"Come on Ann, throw my card," Clara Boyd said.
Boyd comes to Concord to play bingo and talk to her neighbors.
"I get tired of staying home and I'm not gonna stay at home. I like to come out and mingle with everybody and this is one of my main things right here," Boyd said.
It's a place many seniors have visited since childhood.
"This has been home base for a lot of us. I mean, really, home base, and it's a comfort zone," Beverley Kane said. "Pretty much everybody in the community knows where the Concord is at."
Center staff plan activities and reach out to seniors to make sure they have transportation. A grant from the Central Indiana Senior Fund helps pay for staff, food and activities.
"(We're) just really believing in the benefits of social connection and being a part of the community," Robbins said. "We have art classes on Tuesdays. Giving people a reason to come out and be together, I think, is really, it's really taking off in a positive way."
Activities are open to anyone over the age of 55, and they want more people to come. Leaders say there is an above-average number of 55 or older adults in the area, and their programming is filling a void.
"There isn't a lot of senior enrichment activities for older adults who are still living independently," Robbins said. "Nobody ever stops being a kid. So this is a place to just kind of really commit to lifelong learning."
Monday: 11 a.m. nickel bingo
Tuesday: 11a.m. socialization 1-3 p.m. art classes
Thursday: 11 a.m. nickel bingo 12-2 p.m. card games
Friday: 11a.m. general socialization