My Turn, Evelyn Uddin-khan: Rufty-Holmes is the ‘other’ home for seniors

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, March 7, 2023

By Evelyn Uddin-khan

For a lot of retirees and members of the 55-plus community, Rufty-Holmes Senior Center offers a safe place to get away from the daily routine they face. The Senior Center is not just a “senior” facility. It is a fun place where older adults meet and have some good, healthy fun — safe and affordable.

It is a place where we make new friends, renew old friendships, and “hang out” with people who have “stories” to tell. We meet people who lend an ear when one is needed, and a shoulder to lean on when one is needed.

We go there for physical exercise, yoga, the little swimming pool. There is a pool table and a few men (regulars) can be seen daily practicing their shots and enjoying each other’s company. There is the “Curious Book Club,” which keeps our readers always searching for new authors and new stories to dig into. So far, the members are only curious women — no men have joined the club.

And then there is a man who helps us all understand how our computers and cell phones really work. No charge!

Sorry, I cannot mention all we do and participate in, but let’s mention the quilters, and the bridge and Bingo players. They also do great one day enjoyable trips. Oh! And we do have a sweet little cafeteria where we can get free coffee. Sandwiches and snacks are moderately priced.

However, Rufty-Holmes Senior Center is more than a gathering place for older adults. On Friday, Feb. 24, the African American community celebrated Black History Month with a great group of people in attendance. There was plenty of food. But the musical interlude — piano player, singers and songs were an education by itself in African culture.

The guest speaker, Rev.  Anthony Smith, gave a speech that blew me away when he mentioned Noam Chomsky and Paulo Freire. These were men I had to read in graduate school for my advanced degree. The two hours the function lasted were impressive and informative.

My only disappointment was that more people — a cross section of our diverse community — did not show up.

The center is also the place where seniors and other members of the community can find tax accountants affiliated with VITA who volunteers their time to help people with filing their income tax forms. This is such a load off the shoulders of older people.

Well, here is something else to keep in mind. The “buzz” and excitement in the building now is the 35th anniversary, with a celebration planned for April. I don’t know how it was 35 years ago, but today the senior center is a little village within a big building.

Also, on the “buzz” is the news that Rufty-Holmes Senior Center is looking to expand its facilities. I must say that I like the present facility, staff and all. I have grown accustomed to it, but one can not stop progress and if a new building means expanding and incorporating more activities that are beneficial to all people in the community, then that can only be a positive venture.

I hope the planners put in a real nice, big swimming pool, and an indoor track so we can continue to walk in winter.

I also hope that the new Center stays in Salisbury. We the people in Salisbury are rather fortunate to have such a luxury in our midst and would like to keep it that way.

I can only reiterate that Rufty-Holmes Senior Center is not only for seniors. It serves the larger community in many ways, whether hosting social events, or getting VITA’s help with filing our taxes.

For many of us, the social interaction daily, the friends we meet, the physical and mental stimulation it provides, all adds up to good therapy.

Check it out! Get the flyer. There is something at the center for everyone.

Evelyn Uddin-khan moved to Salisbury in 2018 after living in the New York City area for most of her life. She taught in public schools and for a community college in the New York City area.