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Seniors regain social life during the pandemic

How they gather safely at Tucson Community Centers
Seniors having fun playing cards
Posted at 6:17 PM, Dec 21, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-21 22:09:38-05

TUCSON, Ariz — Seniors are getting back to some degree of normalcy by meeting up for bingo and other activities at local community centers and they’re doing it safely.

“We have Loteria going on today, it’s a version of bingo.”

It was a big day at the Armory Senior Center in Tucson. Seniors were having fun playing games while socializing and doing what many of them have missed since the start of the pandemic.

Right now workers, at the Tucson community center are seeing about 30% of the crowd they had before the pandemic hit. Armory center recreation coordinator Stacey Belhumeur says it’s been a positive thing for visitors.

"We’ve seen a lot social isolation with our seniors so getting back into the center being able to see their friends and participate in activities has been good for their mental state. We are seeing more smiles on their faces for sure” Belhumeur said.

Bingo and Loteria player Sylvia Flores says its a great way to get out of the house and stay active.

"The three days that I come they have different types of exercises and that has helped me tremendously,” Flores said.

Sandra Delfina Sullivan agrees she loves to hang out with her 'besties' at the center and chat about life.

"It's magnificent to be around people what you couldn’t see before and I can see now I appreciate it,” Sullivan said.

The center gives out free meals and while the process has evolved because of the pandemic it is still available and might go back to full steam in the spring.

Meanwhile, visitors have to wear a mask inside the building. Temperature checks and hand sanitizing stations are also available on site.

"We offer a senior meal program it is a hot lunch or dinner where people can come in and have a really nice meal. When COVID hit we kind of had to re-frame that program so they were offered a frozen meal that they can take home,” Belhumeur said.

Right now, hours, are Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays between 9 a.m. - 1 p.m. and workers are hoping to expand those hours in January of 2022, its all depending on the state of COVID-19.

"The people are beautiful, they’re wonderful they’re good friends and workers are very friendly,” Flores said.