More than 100 seniors gathered at the Gary and Mary West Senior Wellness Center today to celebrate the passage of the Older Americans Act (OAA) and the six-year anniversary of the Senior Wellness Center, a community-based health and wellness model of coordinated care located in San Diego that provides seniors access to daily meals and a host of holistic services and supports.
“Mary and I are very proud of the work being done here in service of seniors,” said Gary West, founder of West Health and the Gary and Mary West Foundation, which established the Senior Wellness Center.
“Our doors have been open every single day for the past six years,” West said. “With the help of our friends at Serving Seniors, we’ve served more than one million meals to our honored guests—people who have helped make this country great—and who deserve to live with dignity, quality of life and independence.”
U.S. Representative Scott Peters, a key congressional supporter of OAA, joined the festive celebration and commended Serving Seniors and the Senior Wellness Center, touting the importance of the Center not only to the seniors here locally, but as a nationwide model.
“We were really pleased to reauthorize the Older Americans Act,” said Rep. Peters. “It’s very important—it’s the foundation for the federal government support for what you do here.”
“What a resource for our community,” said Rep. Peters. “The generosity of Gary West and his wife to provide a lot of the gaps that the federal government – even when we’re working at our best – we’re not going to be able to replace the importance of the generosity of the West family.”
Featuring testimonials from regular clients, songs sung by the “West Singing Seniors,” and a ceremonial toast, the event concluded with every senior receiving a “Hope for Successful Aging” bracelet knotted in the shape of the number eight. Each one symbolizes the reality that every eight seconds someone in America turns 65, and that we should all have the ability to age on our own terms.
The six-year anniversary event was held during Older Americans Month, exemplifying this year’s theme of “Blaze a Trail,” designated by HHS to bring attention to the ways in which older adults are reinventing themselves through new work and invigorated passions, ultimately engaging their communities and positively impacting the lives of people of all ages.
The Senior Wellness Center has been blazing a trail of comprehensive health, wellness, oral and social services through its partnership with Serving Seniors since 2010.