The Senior Center is a Westport success story. Its classes, workshops, lunches and other activities attract 1,000 users — solid numbers, for sure.
But of 5,000 senior-age Westporters, the Center’s long-range planning team wondered why 4,000 men and women do not use it.
With help from marketing professionals Lloyd Kirban and Meta Schroeder, and assistance from the Y’s Men, 340 non-users were surveyed recently by phone.
A key finding: up to 65 percent of the seniors are either still working, too busy or feel too young to use it. “That was eye-opening,” admits committee member Dana Johnson.
Some younger seniors — those 60 to 65 — said they would use the center if it were open beyond “business hours.” (It already stays open until 8 p.m. Thursdays, and from 8:30 a.m. to noon Saturdays.)
The survey showed exercise classes, creative programs and lectures to be among the most popular offerings. Some of those may be expanded, Johnson says.
The committee continues to analyze survey data. But they’re gratified, so far, to learn that they’re reaching most of the people who can, or would, use the center.
One thing is clear, Johnson says: As baby boomers age, they’ll work longer — many into their 70s. They may not start visiting Westport’s Senior Center until they’re 75 or so.
Whenever they do, the Center will be ready for them.