By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Senior Center board decides to keep age limit at 55
Behring Senior Center will continue to keep its age limit for participation at 55 years old the Monroe Senior Citizens Board voted unanimously Thursday. (Times photo: Anthony Wahl)
MONROE - The Monroe Senior Citizens Board is keeping it 55.

In a review of its policy, the board voted unanimously Thursday to keep its age limit for participation at the center and in its activities at 55 years old, even if it means turning away extra business.

Board members said they had heard from too many seniors intent on the center retaining its current age limit. Lowering the age requirement to as low as 50 years old would "open a can of worms," one member said.

Tammy Derrickson, Behring Senior Center director, said the board regularly reviews its policies.

But on Thursday, she informed the board that she has recently turned away at least two 54-year-old individuals requesting to participate in one of the many trips sponsored by the center.

Did the board want to "join in the realm of other senior centers and lower the age to 50?" Derrickson asked.

"You would be surprised to find many in the 50 to 55 age group would participate (in the center's programs)," she said.

The center does open up its trips to the public when there are unfilled seats, but Derrickson said filling the trip buses has not been a problem.

Lowering the age limit could mean fewer opportunities for the over-55 age group to take the sponsored trips, said Ray Jones, board member.

The fitness center and the bus trips seem to be the two programs most attractive to the 50-55 age group, board members noted. But the center is "not inundated" with individuals from the age group, who have retired early and want to use the facility, said Jerry Schwaiger, board president.

"The big consideration is, are we ready to change our operation to accommodate them?" Schwaiger asked.

In the end, it was the preferences of the seniors who use the center that the board bowed to.

"People over 65 are comfortable with the age group, they like the way things are run, and they don't want to see a change," Schwaiger said.