With the Park City Senior Center slated to close when construction on the Woodside Park Phase II affordable housing development begins, local seniors might be thinking ahead to what’s next for them and their place in the community. A survey aims to figure out just that.
Briana Sisofo, a graduate student in gerontology at the University of Utah, says the Park City Senior Center survey starts with an easy question.
“I'm trying to see if people want it to be called 'senior center,' because in class we’re trying to steer clear of those names," Sisofo said. "Because the younger generations are not seeing themselves as seniors anymore—they want to stay healthy and young for the rest of their lives.”
The survey questions focus on accessibility; mental stimulation; social engagement; and physical activity. Part-time and full-time Park City residents 50 years and older are invited to take the survey, whether they’ve participated in activities at the current senior center or not. As human lifespans have grown longer, with some people living into their 100s, aging services for people in their 50s might not be on their radars. But Sisofo says they might start to think ahead to the resources they’ll utilize in their 60s.
“When you turn 50, you are now starting to look like, 'what is in my next part of my life,' and this is the next stepping point," Sisofo said. "I want Park City to have something for them when they reach that point in their later 60s, that there is more like a community center that they can stay healthy, socially engaged and they just enjoy going to.”
Sisofo says she’s received most of the input so far from people in their 60s and is looking for more participation from those much older and in their 50s. She wants to use the data gathered through the survey to help shape community services not only for Park City residents but also for other communities grappling with serving their aging population. Sisofo intends to publish it along with her master’s thesis and present the findings to the Park City Council, which is why she encourages people to take the survey.
“This survey is a time that you can allow yourself to vocalize what you want for your future, in this community of being in Park City, and help us take the steps to becoming a more age-friendly community,” Sisofo said.
The survey closes at the end of October and can be found at pcseniorcentersurvey.com.