Westport Senior Center adapts to COVID-19 restrictions 21 Imperial Avenue Westport, CT 06880・203-341-5099・seniorcenter@westportct.gov

From art, to dance, to current events to exercise, the Westport Senior Center offers it all. Post-retirement life can get lonely and boring for many seniors, and it can be hard to gather the motivation to get up and leave the house. Thus, the Westport Senior Center provides something for them to do.

“Our mission is to get seniors kind of out of their homes and to make friends and develop a support network,” program manager at the Westport Senior Center Holly Betts said.

This banner on the door of the Westport Senior Center aims to brighten people’s day as they attend one of the Senior Center’s COVID programs, free drive by grocery pick up.

During this time of COVID-19, the elderly are some of the people most at risk. As a result, the Senior Center has increased restrictions in order to maintain safety.

This sign outside of the Westport Senior Center reminds people to stay 6 feet apart, as the CDC has advised people to do to stop the spread of COVID-19.

This has put a wrench in the programs that the Senior Center has in place. Most of these seniors haven’t left their house much since lockdown and have had nothing to do, nowhere to go, and no one to talk to.

The Senior Center is thus left with the difficult task of operating fully remote.

“Holly and I never thought we would have them closed 7 months later with no date in mind for reopening the doors,” program director at the Westport Senior Center Susan Pfister said, “but we’ve flipped the switch overnight, literally, and we are offering between 40 and 50 zoom classes.”

Even on Zoom, the Senior Center has still been able to maintain its reputation of having programs and activities for everyone

“The scope of what it [the Senior Center] offers is really outstanding,” Herbert Podel, a senior resident said, “I have taken classes on a wide variety of classes on subjects like politics, current events, the world, travel, books, poetry, on and on and on.”

These zoom classes are a great way for seniors to stay connected to the Senior Center community and have something to do while staying safe in their house.

“They really make an effort, a substantial effort,” Podel said, “to keep everyone active, and thinking, and entertained just by the virtual offerings.


all photos by Lily Klau '23.