Elderly Keep Busy at Senior Center

Three-Week-Old Center Provides Activities and Social and Health Services

Through the Push-N-Go doors of the three-week-old Cambridge Senior Citizens Center, a welcoming atmosphere, dozens of activities and countless social and health services greet the city's elderly.

Founded last month, the $3.8 million center is intended to provide a home-away-from-home for Cambridge senior citizens.

Late yesterday afternoon, the Bingo crowd was just clearing out after an hour and a half of excitement.

"I don't care what we do, it's going to be great," senior Taimy James says of the spacious, modern center, which is located beside the Central Square YMCA.

Approximately $3.4 million of the funding to establish the center was allocated by the city, with the remainder from the private sector, the center's journal reports.

James and the rest of Cambridge's more than 13,000-member elderly population now have no need to worry about what to do in their spare time.

The non-residential center sponsors groups, clubs and classes almost every day, as well as hosting performances by various arts groups, according to Activities and Volunteer Coordinator Arline J. McGrady.

Charles A. Ash, a senior who helped establish the center, says the new building combines under one roof an array of previously scattered services, including health insurance counselling agencies.

A branch of Cambridge Hospital will soon set up a clinic within the center, Ash adds.

Besides offering a wide-range of social and medical services, the center serves breakfast and lunch seven days a week, McGrady says. Free meals are also provided for low-income diners, the center's journal reports.

Social activities range from bridge and energetic walking to line dancing and ceramics.

Over time, McGrady says she hopes to develop a library from the current collection of a single bookshelf.

'Keeps You Busy'

Seniors who frequent the center say they regard it as a place where they can keep busy and socialize.

James, sitting with four or five other women at a table in one of the Center's many common rooms, says the new center leaves her no excuse to stay home.