Driver Freddie Johnson helps seniors into a van for a ride home at the Lawrenceville Senior Center on Wednesday. The Gwinnett Senior Center is expecting to get less money and as a result, they plan to cut the number of rides and meals they give to seniors. Normally nearly 100 seniors come to the center each day for activities and lunch.
Photo: Kent D. Johnson / AJC
Photo: Kent D. Johnson / AJC

Gwinnett to add satellite senior centers due to ‘huge’ demand

Older Gwinnett residents will have an easier time getting access to county-sponsored activities, trips and meals in the near future.

Gwinnett County is adding two satellite senior centers due to high demand in its southeast region, according to county documents. The centers will be at J.W. Briscoe Park in Snellville and at the city of Grayson’s existing senior center behind City Hall, said Blake Hawkins, deputy director for community services.

The county noticed an increased demand at its senior center in Centerville, with the wait list for that center growing to 150 people, Hawkins said.

“There was a huge outcry from the public, asking for services,” Hawkins said.

The demand in southeast Gwinnett is particularly high because it was the first part of the county to see significant population growth as more people moved into the county, Hawkins said. Those early residents are now aging.

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Senior centers provide a variety of services and activities for those age 50 and older. Those visiting a senior center can receive hot meals multiple times a week, take exercise classes and go on organized trips to places like grocery stores and parks. Senior centers regularly hold game nights and birthday parties for their members, Hawkins said.

The satellite centers are expected to be ready by March, Hawkins said. Each will accommodate 40 people, cutting the wait list down by more than half. The cost of the project was not immediately available, but the project will receive federal funding through the Atlanta Regional Commission, Hawkins said.

The county plans to keep expanding senior services in southeast Gwinnett, with a second phase of the Centerville Senior Center also in the works, Hawkins said.

“The entire purpose of Gwinnett County Senior Servives is to allow the seniors to age in place,” Hawkins said. “We give them the opportunity for nutritious meals, socialization and to be able to be out and about.”

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Gwinnett has a five-member Board of Commissioners, comprised of a full-time chairman elected countywide and four part-time, district commissioners. Meet them here.

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