Categories Programming

Perham Senior Center becomes Elevate Connections with additional programming – Perham Focus

PERHAM — After the city of Perham’s controversial decision to relocate the area Senior Center to the Perham Area Community Center, the new program will launch on Wednesday, March 6. This program, now operated by Elevate and rebranded as Elevate Connections, plans to offer everything already available at the Senior Center and more.

“It’s a place for people to come and learn about new things — to be social, have a meal together, meet with friends,” said Elevate General Manager Mindi Larson. “We want people to use this and start really thinking about (the PACC) as not just a place where you go to work out. Our goal is that people really start to think about this as a community center, a gathering space, with the new renovations, with all the different kinds of pockets of spaces that we can utilize. Our program isn’t limited to one room.”

Much like the Senior Center, Connections will be open Monday through Thursday from 10 am-2 pm, and lunch will be served at 11:30 am with a suggested donation of $4 per meal for those aged 60 and up.

On top of continuing to offer what was already available at the Senior Center, Connections plans to offer additional programming for a wide variety of interests and needs. This includes water fitness, coffee talks, crafting classes, games, a walking club and more. They’ll also offer health services such as blood pressure and hearing checks.

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This room, located across from the PACC’s Adventureland, is complete with kitchen equipment and separate tables. This is where lunch will be served.

Elizabeth Vierkant / Perham Focus

“We want everybody to come and join us and see what this is about,” Larson said. “I feel really passionately about the fact that the face of senior programming is changing. And for as progressive as a community we’re living in, it’s important that we get on board. There is an importance to that social gathering and to be able to sit down and play a game of cards, have a cup of coffee and visit. That’s really important — to be able to combat that social isolation, that people have a place to come.”

Larson mentioned that a lot of people entering their senior years are now more interested in being physically active, volunteering and finding flexible work options than ever before. Connections hopes to cater to that wide variety of interests.

There are four different spaces throughout the PACC that will be used for Connections programming. The main Connections room, where lunch will be served, is located in the party room across from Adventureland near the building’s back entrance. This room is complete with tables, chairs, a fridge, television, microwave and cabinet space.

The meals served at lunch will continue to come from Perham Living and will be served just as they are at the Senior Center, with dishes and silverware. Larson emphasized that there would be no change to the menu.

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This is another space members of Elevate Connections will be able to utilize, whether that be through playing cards or working on projects with one another.

Elizabeth Vierkant / Perham Focus

Outside of the main Connections room is another sitting area that can be utilized by Connections members. Larson mentioned that anyone can go out there to play games or work on projects together.

About halfway between the front and back entrance is another room that will be utilized by the program — particularly for different events such as arts, crafts and educational opportunities. Currently, the space features several long tables and chairs as well as a television, although Larson said they plan to make some changes to it in the future.

Finally, toward the front entrance by the bright windows of the newly renovated lobby, is another seating area where Connections members can get together and chat. It’s in this location that Elevate already hosts their coffee talks, which will continue as a part of Connections.

On top of offering multiple locations, Larson also stressed that they plan to make the space as accessible as possible. Accessible parking is available in both the back and front parking spaces, and Larson mentioned that Elevate and the PACC monitored the back lot to ensure ample parking would be available for Connections members. The PACC’s doors are also accessible, and the Connections spaces are fairly close to the entrances, Larson pointed out.

“Accessibility is of course one of those things if we run into hiccups, or there are things that need to be addressed or adjusted, we will work with the PACC team to figure those steps out,” he reassured the community.

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The room where lunch will be served is complete with a fridge, microwave, television and cabinets, as well as different tables.

Elizabeth Vierkant / Perham Focus

PACC memberships are required to join the Elevate Connections program, although Larson emphasized that many health care plans offer low-cost or no-cost options for fitness facility memberships. There are also scholarships available through the PACC itself. PACC Director Mackenzie Blume said they will never turn anyone away who wishes to join.

Anyone who needs assistance setting up a membership with the PACC can call the front desk at 218-346-7222.

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This room is yet another space that will be utilized by Elevate Connections’s events, such as arts, crafts, education and more.

Elizabeth Vierkant / Perham Focus

If you have any questions, reach out to [email protected] or 218-347-1974. Elevate Connections’ programs can be found at elevateotc.org/connections . You can also join their new Facebook group, ” Elevate Connections .”

“I understand change is hard, whether you’re 60 or 160,” Larson said. “It’s difficult, and I get it. But try it. Come and give it a try. Everything that you are used to is here and more. I know change is difficult, but our intention is so good, and our goal is so good . It’s just getting started. Come and join us. Let us help you get your membership ready to get started.”

Elizabeth Vierkant

Elizabeth (she/her), 25, graduated with a degree in Journalism and Communications from the University of Wisconsin–Stout in 2020. Elizabeth has always had a passion for telling stories about people and specializes in community features, which she uses for her Perham -centered content.