12:32 PM

Community Impact: Banks County Senior Life Center

When older adults get a moderate amount of physical activity, the health benefits can be significant, according to the

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). With regular physical activity, older adults can reduce the risk of dying of coronary heart disease and help control joint swelling and pain from arthritis, among other benefits, according to the CDC.

Tracie Hammond, director of the Banks County Senior Life Center, says you’re never too old to start healthier activities.

“I can see a difference in our clients when they come here and start exercising,” she said.

The Banks County Senior Life Center was established to provide nutritional, social, educational and recreational programs to older adults in the county. The center focuses on providing peer support through the normal process of aging. Participants typically attend the center daily from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the facility located in Homer.

Now in its 30th year, the facility is undergoing its first renovation and expansion, which is funded through a state grant and the Banks County Board of Commissioners. As part of the expansion, the Banks County Senior Life Center will add more exercise equipment for its participants. The center recently received a $10,000 grant from the Jackson EMC Foundation to purchase fitness equipment, including four treadmills, stationary bikes and elliptical machines.

“In the past, we had one treadmill and one bike, but we always had people waiting,” Hammond said.

For participants, even a few minutes on the fitness equipment can make impact. One recent participant, who was 97 years old, started walking on the treadmill just three minutes at a time. He 

started feeling better and reported having more energy, thanks to his brief times on the treadmill, Hammond said.

Besides staying physically active, the Banks County Senior Life Center is a resource for participants to stay mentally and socially connected. For many of the participants, the center is their primary source of peer support and care for older adults, Hammond said.

Hammond said those at the Banks County Senior Life Center are thankful for a grant from the Jackson EMC Foundation to support its wellness program. “We know this is very much needed in this area,” she said.

For more information about the Banks County Senior Life Center, visit co.banks.ga.us/dept-senior-services.html.