The Pfeiffer Center in Monroe Township has finally welcomed back senior residents for games and social interaction
The center opened Sept. 8 for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic began, with seniors wearing masks and maintaining social distance. Monroe’s Community Affairs Department provided games like JENGA and Scattergories and offered painted crafts.
“Seniors get tired of sitting home; they get depressed and bored,” said Lisa Christman, of Community Affairs. “Since the center was doing a soft opening and allowing meetings to happen here at night, we wanted to try to open during the day for seniors, and this is the crowd that came out.”
“We are a tribal species, and we need to be around one another,” said Paulsoboro senior Jean Sawers. “It’s so difficult to isolate. For a while, everything was shut down, and we had no opportunity to do anything.”
The center closed for months and canceled all regularly scheduled programs because of COVID. Before the pandemic, seniors were able to participate in low-impact workouts at Pfeiffer and have a lunch provided through the county. The center also offered trips to the movies and casinos.
The community affairs department is trying to figure out new ways to bring the community back together at the center, including Bingo and family movie nights outside. According to Christman, once a final head count of seniors is available, the center will offer more in-depth crafts, including making fall wreaths.
“Some people never came to play games before, but they came for lunch,’’ Christman said. “They are tired of sitting at home. They miss their friends, and they miss us here. They want to see a different four walls.
‘I am really happy to see them here laughing and having a good time.”
“It gives people a chance to get out here, talk to one another and laugh. We are having a ball,” Sawers said.
While the Pfeiffer Center previously offered transportation to and from activities, bus drivers are still unavailable because of COVID. Participants must have their own transportation.
Lunches are still being offered through the county but for pickup only. For more information, contact the Gloucester County Senior Nutrition Program at (856) 686-8327. Visit the center’s online calendar at https://monroetownshipnj.org/monroe-event-calender/ and call (856) 728-9840 to reserve a craft.