Health

Cedar Rapids' senior center is vision for new leader of Aging Services

The senior center - dubbed Ovation - would serve as a hub for area retirees ages 55 and older

Lindsay Glynn, Executive Director of Aging Services, is photographed at her office in the Human Services Campus in Cedar Rapids on Wednesday, July 10, 2019. Glynn has been working to develop a senior center that will offer services and programs to a broad spectrum of older adults. (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)
Lindsay Glynn, Executive Director of Aging Services, is photographed at her office in the Human Services Campus in Cedar Rapids on Wednesday, July 10, 2019. Glynn has been working to develop a senior center that will offer services and programs to a broad spectrum of older adults. (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)

CEDAR RAPIDS — As the new executive director of Aging Services, Lindsay Glynn says her primary goal is to help older adults and address the stigmas sometimes related to aging.

“It’s not just about making sure that people are aware of opportunities that are out there, but it’s making sure that we’re trying and doing new things to shift that mind-set,” said Glynn, who took over the role in June.

Aging Services, a nonprofit affiliated with AbbeHealth, provides resources to help seniors — in Linn, Johnson, Benton and Jones counties — remain independent and in their own homes. Services include transportation, chores and home repairs, among others.

Glynn, who has been with Aging Services since 2014, takes over the position from Kathy Horan, now president of AbbeHealth.

A Mount Vernon native, Glynn became interested in working with older adults her freshman year at the University of Northern Iowa.

She was working in home care, which “shifted my career in a way that I will always be thankful for. Nobody really grows up thinking that they’re going to work with older adults. There’s a misconception about what that looks like.”

Glynn graduated with degrees in nonprofit administration and therapeutic recreation and went on to obtain her master’s degree in gerontology from Iowa State University in 2012.

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Glynn worked as activity coordinator at Virginia Gay Hospital’s care center in Vinton before coming to Aging Services.

One of her projects at Aging Services is establishing a Linn County-based senior center, a project she announced during her pitch at Launch Day, NewBoCo’s annual event at the end of the Iowa Startup Accelerator.

The effort to establish a senior center has been a longtime goal of many area agencies. The former center in downtown Cedar Rapids closed after being damaged in the 2008 flood.

Area agencies provide programs and services for older residents, but Glynn and other organizers believe a central location is needed to offer better access.

“We’ve been turning our wheels related to the senior center for years,” Glynn said. “The Accelerator really was what got that ball turning.”

The senior center — dubbed Ovation — would serve as a hub for area retirees aged 55 and older. Officials hope to incorporate programming, such as continuing education classes and services from area agencies.

Ovation is expected to open sometime in 2020. Officials are working to identify a location and are still determining whether they will build new or renovate existing space, Glynn said.

They want a “flexible space” that meets community needs, she said, adding the space needs to be centrally located but not in the downtown.

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More than 33,000 Linn County residents, or 15 percent of the county’s population, were 65 and older in 2017, according to the census.

With more baby boomers reaching retirement age, Eastern Iowa is facing “a huge crisis.” Glynn said.

“There will be more older adults than any other generation, and we won’t have the capacity to take care of them,” Glynn said. “That’s true in so many ways. Not only having enough services and supports, but also having the staff to fill any of those positions to make that happen.

“That’s a conversation that we need to continue to have as a larger society,” she said. “How do we care for aging baby boomers?”

l Comments: (319) 368-8536; michaela.ramm@thegazette.com

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