Commentary: Just exactly what used to go on at the Edmonds Senior Center?

A artist’s rendering of the Edmonds Waterfront Center.

Over the past few years as I’ve gone about the business of being a board member  of the Edmonds Senior Center and the campaign co-chair of its replacement, the new Edmonds Waterfront Center, I’ve learned a lot.

I learned that most people knew of our senior center, but most had no idea of what went on in that building or how bad the conditions were inside.

Many people I talked to early on were of the belief that there was only bingo and dancing that went on at the Senior Center. And more than once I heard “I’m never going to need a senior center” or “I’m not a senior”.

From then on, I went to great lengths to try to tell people what “actually” does happen inside those four crumbling walls. And yes, there is some bingo. And some dancing, complete — I might add — with a fight every once in a while on the dance floor between a couple of 90-something men over a particular female dance partner. Some things never change.

When we shut down the old building recently, we had to find locations to run our many programs. I’m glad it wasn’t my task. And I’m proud of those who took it on. We are now operating 71 programs in 12 different locations throughout south Snohomish County.

I won’t list all of our programs but here’s just a few:

Bastyr Clinic
Bible Study
Legal advice
Driving Classes
Memory loss support
Mah Jong
Dental Hygienist
Hearing Screening
Tai Chi
Jewelry repair
Thrift Shop
Ping Pong
Sound Singers
Tech help

And many other support groups as well as RN services.

So, as you can see, we are busy.

Now you don’t have to be a senior to partake in these and many more activities. All you have to do is join the Senior Center for the yearly cost of a couple drinks from Starbucks.

Our new Edmonds Waterfront Center will not only house all our existing programs but many additional ones for people of all ages.

So, there you have it. Want to participate in any of these programs? Simply join us for a minimal cost and start tomorrow.

Want to help us reach our last $3 million goal? Reach out to me or any board member, and we can show you how to contribute. Or simply mail us a check at PO Box 717, Edmonds WA, 98020.

The Edmonds Waterfront Center is going to be taking care of our community needs for decades to come.

— By Gary Haakenson




6 Replies to “Commentary: Just exactly what used to go on at the Edmonds Senior Center?”

  1. Thank you for the input of what the `services’ of the Senior Center have been, and will continue to be. What else will the Senior Center be? What other services will be provided and be utilized by any other organizations?


    1. Roselee, we are over a year away from opening the new EWC so it’s difficult to say exactly what groups will be using the building but in the past we have had many organizations using our spaces for meetings. The City of Edmonds will be using the building most evenings for some of their parks/recreation programs. It will be a mix of uses to benefit Edmonds and all of South Snohomish County. And of course we will be renting space for wedding receptions and other typical uses…..we have to pay the bills somehow 🙂


  2. The name change will remove some of the stigma.

    I can’t count the number of times someone said, “Why go to the Senior Center, it’s just a bunch of old people,”

    Then I suggested they look in a mirror.


  3. Good to keep in mind, us “old people” tend to vote and take an interest in what’s going on under our noses. Good on you, Mr. Haakenson, for all the work you have done to bring this thing to fruition. Thank you.


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