WESTLAKE, Ohio — The city’s new community service center is looking for residents who want to chat with their neighbors.
The beautiful senior center has a cafe – the Connections Café – and executive director Lydia Gadd brings together various groups to come “coffee and conversation”.
“We are lucky to have a facility like this because it is certainly able to provide opportunities for more people in a modern, fresh facility that is more appealing to seniors of all ages above above 50. He has a new energy, and more men are coming in now,” Gadd said.
She explained that centers for the elderly generally have greater female participation, despite the fact that older men may be more vulnerable to isolation.
“So we have a masculine breakfast that seems to happen more naturally here,” Gadd said.
“Also, our exercise center and recreation department wellness manager helped us with equipment that isn’t available there – pneumatic equipment, with air compressors – all much more gentle and easier on the joints for people with arthritis or recovering from injuries or surgeries.
Gadd noted that more coffee and conversation opportunities are becoming available to anyone interested, both this month and in February.
“These occasions give customers the chance to meet other community members and city staff. They can ask questions, find out what they do every day and get to know each other over a coffee in our Connections Café.
The cafe also offers soups, snacks, wraps and more.
“We are able to provide free coffee and tea to our customers,” Gadd said, “because the coffee is generously sponsored each month by O’Neill Healthcare and the tea is sponsored by Holy Family Hospice.”
Conversation with a Veteran is a growing successful group.
“We have a great relationship with our police department and often do joint projects for the community,” Gadd said. “The police were offering coffee with a cop. As they were chatting, a group started coming, made up entirely of veterans. It was so natural that they share their experiences. And they liked it so much that they decided to do it every month.
“All veterans are welcome to come to Connections Café and have a cup of coffee and chat with other local residents who have served in our nation’s armed forces,” she said.
“These casual get-togethers will take place on the first Wednesday of each month, from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. No registration necessary and walk-ins are always welcome.
“But some might be interested in another conversation group that includes city service department employees as well as city first responders.
“Now they can ask questions on Fourth Fridays about various city staff, learn about what they do day-to-day, and get to know each other while having a coffee in our Connections Café,” said Gadd.
“Coming soon is a conversation with our firefighters, 9-11am, Friday, January 28, and with our service mechanics at the same time, Friday, February 25.”
Gadd has also scheduled his own talk day. Every two months, she holds a session on what is happening in the city. The next one is at 11 a.m. on February 15 and will last about an hour. Pre-registration is suggested for this one by calling the center at 440-899-3544.
The March conversations have yet to be scheduled, Gadd said. Call the center or check the city’s website for updates on all coffee and conversation days at https://www.cityofwestlake.org/875/Connections-Cafe and help keep the conversations going.
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