Year-end review: The Cullman County Commission on Aging discuss the impact of Covid-19 protocol on Cullman County senior centers

Seniors pictured at the Crane Hill Senior Center (Photo courtesy of the Cullman County Commission on Aging)

CULLMAN, Ala. – The Cullman County Commission on Aging director Stephanie Lawson spoke about the many events of the past year since the senior centers were reopened in June. All centers in Cullman County celebrated opening their doors once more with a cook-out. Lawson said, “Sheriff Gentry kicked it off for us by making sure he got around to every one of the full-time centers as well as the part-time centers and doing a cook-out, welcoming the seniors back.” These cookouts took place from June until September 2021.

The first event the Senior center was able to hold upon reopening was the Senior Health Fair in September. The center also held an Oktoberfest Senior Day, Cullman County Fair Senior Day and the Senior Christmas party at Stonebridge.

The senior centers were not allowed to open until June this year due to Covid. Lawson said it is always possible that the centers will close again. She said, “We are governed, as far as that goes, by the Alabama Department of Senior Services, so it is just depending on mandates that come down from the governor.” Lawson has not heard any news of senior centers needing to shut down thus far.

On gatherings of large groups of seniors for special events during Covid, Lawson said, “My personal opinion on it, and that’s all it is, is most of our seniors were ready to get back, they were ready to get out. Probably the majority of them have been vaccinated, and they are of the age to where if they feel safe, and they want to come out, and they want to gather with their friends and enjoy themselves, then we want to offer as safely as we can for them to be able to do that.”

Lawson said that the centers do not have a mask mandate at this point, but the seniors are welcome to wear a mask and social distance if it makes them feel more comfortable.

Lawson continued, “I think it’s very important for people to be able to make some of these decisions for themselves.”

Lawson does not currently have any big events planned for the centers for next year, but the centers will continue to meet as usual.

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