Seniors & Aging

What can you do at Bellingham’s senior center? What can’t you do?

A longevity stick class works on the lawn at Bellingham Senior Activity Center.
A longevity stick class works on the lawn at Bellingham Senior Activity Center.

For those who have never visited the Bellingham Senior Activity Center, there’s literally a lot more space than meets the eye of passers-by.

“People are often surprised by how many rooms (and activities) there are,” says Molly Simon, the manager of the center, located at 315 Halleck St. in downtown Bellingham. “Tuesdays and Thursdays are our busiest days.”

Except for a large, grassy flower garden area to the left of the center’s primary entrance, it’s all on one level – ideal for seniors.

For example, Room 16 – the large room and one of several classrooms – is used for yoga, TED Talks about a wide variety of topics, card games and just plain socializing.

The monthly newsletter, “The BSAC Connection,” includes complete schedules for both regular events and special occasions. The center is part of the Whatcom Council on Aging, an umbrella organization.

Nearby is a coffee bar offering coffee, tea, cocoa, water, soda and donuts, available by donation.

“It’s all staffed by more than 150 volunteers,” Simon says of the center, which has about 1,700 members 50 and older. “We couldn’t operate without our volunteers.”

Bonnie Dean Goss teaches a longevity stick class at Bellingham Senior Activity Center. Evan Abell

Handicapped parking is located in front of the center. Most people park for free in the large Halleck Street/Cornwell Avenue lot across from the center, where Habitat for Humanity also has parking. Street parking also can be found.

Another free benefit is the center-wide Wi-Fi.

There is a library with hundreds of books, many with large print and mostly relatively modern volumes of both fiction and non-fiction. Donations of gently used books of that type are accepted.

“We definitely can use more large-print book donations,” says Simon while pointing out that newspapers are available in the library as well.

Woodcarvers chat during a work session at the Bellingham Senior Activity Center. Evan Abell

There is a multi-purpose room for lunch, served on site from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Suggested donations are $5 for those 60 and older and $7 for those younger than 60.

A complete daily menu is printed in the center’s 16-page monthly newsletter.

Games such as ping-pong and scrabble are often played in the multi-purpose room.

Music and dance programs take place in the auditorium, pretty much in the middle of the building. For those into fitness, there are programs such as Pilates and Zumba. There are also fitness machines available for workouts, including six endurance machines for cardio work and 15 strength machines along with a stretching table.

Just down the hall are pool tables.