COLLEGE STATION, TEXAS — It's no secret the pandemic has altered the way we live and interact at some point, but senior citizens have mostly been hit the worst.
For some, indoor activities truly go a long way in the return to a more community feel.
Governor Abbott has declared May of 2021 'Older Texans Month' and there's no better time to celebrate with activities resuming, both outdoors and now indoors, at the Bob and Wanda Meyer Senior and Community Center.
Seeing activities such as Rummikub, 42, canasta, and sit-and-fit, all on the May 2021 calendar at this senior and community center, could only mean one thing, indoor activities are back on.
"When you get older, you sometimes can just want to stay at home with your little dog or maybe your grandchildren and you don't venture out, but this is a good place for senior citizens to come and be a part of something," Earline Solis, a College Station resident and member at the Center said.
Grateful for the relationships built at this special place, Solis says the center is simply uplifting and she's thankful for what gets shared within these walls.
"I feel safe here. The police are all around us. There is always someone looking after us. This is a very special and unique place for College Station and Bryan and we are all really grateful for it," Solis added.
Outdoor activities resumed just two months ago, after a year-long hiatus. Now within the last week, members were allowed to safely get together indoors again.
"It's been around a year that we weren't able to hold programs in-person. In March, we started holding them outside, which there was a lot of interest, but sizes were limited, by the space," Colton Koenig, Senior Services Coordinator at the Bob and Wanda Meyer Senior and Community Center said.
Koenig says members were chomping at the bit for the return of normal programming.
"We are really excited to be able to do programming indoors Monday through Friday from 9a-1p and provide more varied opportunities to recreate and different sorts of programs," Koenig said "As much as we can do.. as many programs... It's really awesome to have a challenge, I don't think I could create enough programs for them to be satisfied," he added.
"We are so grateful to the people who have created this place for all of us to come and be," Solis shared.
Even though the center is seeing both indoor and outdoor activities now, COVID-19 safety precautions are still front and center.
"We are having participants register, so we can make sure that we are staying safe using the indoor spaces and allowing people to be able to socially distance still indoors. We are not requiring masks, but we are heavily encouraging them. We are also sanitizing in between each activity before we start the next program," Koenig said.
The Bob and Wanda Meyer Senior and Community Center is reserved for those 55 and older, but there are other centers in College Station like the Lincoln Recreation Center, with programs for all ages.
Typically, there is a $20 membership fee for a year at the center, but leaders say they are currently not charging a fee while they are operating at reduced hours, due to the pandemic, but that is likely to change in the future.