PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Barbara Dantley is a regular volunteer at the Firehouse Active Adult Center in West Philadelphia.
"I call Bingo Wednesdays and Fridays. Everyone looks forward to that," she says.
Paid Sponsor Partnership: Philadelphia Corporation for Aging
Dantley also serves as secretary of the center's advisory council. The council helps staff keep its members thriving by helping to expand programs, offerings, and boosting membership.
Senior centers, like this one, offer many programs to curb social isolation for older adults.
"When I lost my husband, my daughter said, 'Mom, you are not going to stay home,'" says Cherrie Belcher, a member of the Firehouse Active Adult Center.
She says that's why she joined the center and participates in many of the activities offered there, like Bingo.
"And we have a good time," she says.
And now older adults have a forum to speak up about the challenges they face in their daily lives.
The Philadelphia Corporation for Aging, or PCA, is partnering with the Pennsylvania Department of Aging to host listening sessions.
Esther Lee, the Assistant Director of Community Engagement for the Philadelphia Corporation for Aging, is the designated note taker at this listening session in West Philadelphia.
She says Governor Shapiro wanted to hear from older adults across the commonwealth about their "needs and wants."
"So we can come up with better services and programs for next 10 years," says Lee.
Bill Conallen, Public Relations Specialist for the Philadelphia Corporation for Aging, says PCA started hosting these listening sessions across the city in mid-August.
"And they're going to be running through the end of September," he says.
Even though Lee is recording people's comments at the listening session, she says "everything is anonymous."
"And then the plan will be available for all of us in February 2024," says Lee.
According to the Pennsylvania Department of Aging, the commonwealth has the nation's 5th largest older adult population with 3.4 million people.
Conallen says they chose to host these listening sessions at various older adult centers across Philadelphia, because they wanted "to reach a diverse set of individuals."
He says PCA wants to ensure older adults around the region are "aging with dignity and grace" in their communities.
Some of the topics addressed at the listening sessions include housing, transportation, and health services.
"I'm a little concerned about health care issues, especially the cost," says Dantley.
"We have a facilitator and she's gonna lead this conversation with our older adults, and I'm gonna take all those notes to report back to the Department of Aging," says Lee.
Conallen says he wants to encourage older adults, their caregivers, and relatives of older adults to come to a listening session before the end of September.
"Let your voice be heard. It'll really make a difference," he says.
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