Senior Citizens Standing Committee formed to give those 55 and over a voice

OCEANSIDE — The first meeting of the newly establish Senior Citizens Standing Committee was held March 17. The standing committee was formed at the request of residents 55 and older to ensure they have a voice in city decision-making.

The standing committee operates under the Parks and Recreation Commission led by Parks and Recreation division manager Eileen Turk.

Prior to the standing committee being formed, a Senior Citizens Commission met with city staff to address senior services and events focused on the 55 and over crowd. The Senior Citizens Commission, along with numerous other commissions and committees, was disbanded a few years ago due to city budget cuts and the cost of city staff time to prepare and attend meetings.

The standing committee picked up on March 17 from where the former commission left off. Volunteer committee members are chair John Rhoad, and members Jerry Anderson, Richard Blankinship and Marvin Foster. Rhoad previously served on the former commission for 13 years.

During the first meeting committee members heard an overview of city senior services and programs. Information was shared on Club 55 senior fitness center, the Country Club and El Corazon Senior Centers, and Solutions for Seniors on the Go transportation services.

Solutions for Seniors on the Go provides low cost taxi scrip, van services and door to door volunteer drivers to qualifying Oceanside seniors at minimum or no cost.

Other services, clubs and activities are open to the whole community and beyond. The hot lunch program at Country Club Senior Center and Sunday senior dances at El Corazon Senior Center are open to all area seniors.

Club 55 senior fitness center staff is working to boost club membership by inviting all ages to join at $55 a year. The club, which is named in honor of football legend and hometown hero Junior Seau whose jersey number was 55, is run by Vista Community Clinic and will hold a celebration to mark its reopening in May.

Monday bingo volunteers at El Corazon Senior Center also invite everyone age 18 and older to play. In addition to being a lot of fun, bingo games raise money for the senior nutrition program, which prepares and delivers meals to homebound seniors.

The meeting also allowed time for residents to bring up question, comments and concerns. One request was to include a direct link to senior services and events on the city’s home page.

The Senior Citizens Standing Committee will meet quarterly. The next scheduled meeting is 2 p.m. June 16 at the City Council Chambers.

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