SOUTH BRUNSWICK – The South Brunswick Senior Center has long been a community focal point for township residents age 55 and older, offering a broad spectrum of programs that connects them with programs and services that promote a healthy lifestyle and successful aging, according to Director Christine Wildemuth, who just recently announced her retirement.
The Senior Center opened its doors in July 1991 and has continually expanded over the years, both in size and services. The center assists older adults, veterans, children caring for aging parent and with the addition of Penn Medicine Princeton Health in 2014 assists the community with lab services, physical therapy, health screening and lectures. The center is not only a place for recreation and meeting friends but a resource center for counseling, benefit assistance, caregiving, support groups, senior discounts, senior housing, a lunch program, transportation to name a few.
Reflecting on her 20 years of service as director, Wildemuth, a resident of the Monmouth Junction section of South Brunswick, retired as of Aug. 30. More than 100 Senior Center members came for a slice of cake and a chance to say farewell at a celebration held at the center on Aug. 23.
“With the support of the township mayor and council, the Senior Advisory Council and the center staff, the senior center has doubled in members, services and size,” she said of the past two decades. “In 2002, a generator was installed so we could provide a community service as a shelter for emergencies like we did during Hurricane Sandy, 2003 added the social worker position and expanded parking to meet the growing membership, and in 2006 the kitchen was renovated. A major addition was in 2013 when a 10,500-square-foot wellness center opened which offers a wide variety of health and fitness programs. In 2014 we opened our outdoor patio and a partnership with Penn Medicine Princeton Healthcare was established to provide on site wellness and medical services. From 2016-17 we underwent a large remodel, adding a new technology center, coat room, folding partition walls and a music room. We also installed all new carpet, furniture and billiards tables. This year progress continues with new automatic front doors and a new roof, and renovations will start soon on a whole new canopy and design to the main entrance.”
She continued to reflect, saying, “We have not only grown in size but have doubled membership. We have gone from 91 attendees per day to 185 per day on average. We also have programs and services that meet the needs of residents from 55-105.”
New members can join on Tuesdays and Fridays from 9:30-11:30 a.m. by visiting the center, in the Office on Aging, 540 Ridge Road (Route 522 West), Monmouth Junction. Membership is free.
September is National Senior Center Month and this year’s theme is Senior Centers the Key to Aging Well.
“I encourage residents 55 [and older] to come and see all we do. Senior centers are far from just a place to play bingo. We have all the hottest fitness trends like Pound and BollyX and also tech lessons and a wide variety of programs to promote a healthy lifestyle in mind and body. We really are one stop shopping for those 55 [and older] any need they have we can assist them or help them get to the agency that can,” Wildemuth said.
At the celebration, Township Manager Bernard Hvozdovic presented Wildemuth with the Key to South Brunswick and thanked her for her service and dedication.
Wildemuth said she is moving to Florida to be closer to her parents.
“It has been a pleasure serving as your director for the past 20 years and I will miss all of you, but sitting poolside under a palm tree in January, I won’t be missing Jersey winters,” she said.