A new 22,000 square-foot state-of-the-art health and wellness center serving adults age 60 and older in Oak Cliff will open this fall under a co-operative venture between the City of Dallas
and the non-profit WellMed Charitable Foundation (WCF).
The $1.4 million facility will be the tenth senior activity center operated or co-operated by the WellMed Charitable Foundation.
Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings, District 3 City Council Member Casey Thomas, District 8 Council Member Tennell Atkins, Dallas Park and Recreation Board President Robert Abtahi and WCF Board President Bryan Grundhoefer made the announcement today across the street from the site of the new health and wellness center at Red Bird Square, 3107 W. Camp Wisdom Road.
Mayor Rawlings called the news “a terrific public-private partnership opportunity” for Dallas.
“WellMed not only shares their resources in generous charitable work, they also have a clear vision of what they want their contributions to do. Their senior center facilities provide innovative, practical resources for persons age 60 and over,” Rawlings said. “They are geared to not only promote health and wellness, but to provide exercise equipment, fitness classes, health screenings, and referrals to vital social services – all at no cost to those who use them.”
“We are living longer and we want our extended years to be healthy, active, and fulfilling,” he added. “The WellMed Charitable Foundation is helping make that possible for thousands of Texas seniors.”
In keeping with the WCF model, the new Southwest Dallas center will be built adjacent to a WellMed primary care clinic, which is also under construction. WellMed doctors, nurses and staff will provide complimentary health care services, such as diabetes screenings and flu shots, to center members.
The new senior activity center will be the largest publicly funded facility of its kind in Dallas dedicated to seniors. The clinic will be the sixth WellMed-branded clinic in the Dallas-Fort Worth market. WellMed also operates more than 50 health care facilities in the region under the USMD brand.
In his remarks, Thomas said seniors who have attended citywide town hall meetings have repeatedly asked for a space they could call their own. “We are pleased that WellMed selected Dallas to launch another facility,” Thomas said. “I want to thank WellMed Charitable Foundation for their generosity in giving Dallas seniors a special space, a special place they can call their own. It will be that special space for active, engaged and vibrant seniors.”
The WCF also announced it was renewing a $150,000 grant to the City of Dallas to underwrite annual and monthly fees for residents age 60 and older to attend Dallas Park and Recreation centers. Since the first WCF grant was announced in March 2017, more than 2,100 older adults have joined the centers.
Grundhoefer, who also serves as President of WellMed Medical Management, Inc., said the partnership was a critical next step in helping WellMed to achieve its goal of changing the face of health care delivery for older adults in North Texas.
”I’ve seen just what these senior activity centers do to change people’s lives – from improving health and wellness to, quite frankly, giving people a reason to get out of bed, make new friends, and have some fun,” Grundhoefer said.
“We’re especially pleased to be in the Oak Cliff neighborhood of Dallas,” he said. “We know there are many older adults in this neighborhood today, and we’re excited for WellMed to be a part of your lives, and part of your community.”
Abtahi said the Park Board supports ventures with caring and giving organizations that believe in enriching the lives of senior adults. “With the help of WellMed and other caring partners, the Board and Department will continue to expand senior services and recreational programs throughout Dallas.
The WCF is the non-profit partner of WellMed Medical Management, a growing health care delivery company that operates more than 60 clinics in the Dallas-Fort Worth region under the WellMed and USMD brands. Additionally, WellMed supports nearly 2,400 independent physicians caring for Medicare-eligible patients in the DFW region. In North Texas, WellMed delivers care for more than 104,900 Medicare-eligible patients.
The new Dallas senior center will offer a host of activities include aerobics, walking clubs, weight training, bridge, dominoes, arts & crafts, book clubs, day trips, fitness and nutrition classes, volunteer opportunities, and much more. The Foundation will also introduce programs not found at other centers, such as healthy cooking classes in the demonstration kitchen, Internet safety classes in a computer lab and caregiver support programs.
“We are anxious to see a center open and we hope it will be the start of many more to come. According to the US Census Bureau, Americans 60 years and older will nearly double by 2050, to approximately 84 million people,” Willis said. “Their health and wellness needs will be extensive. This partnership will help us to effectively keep up with the demands of an ever-increasing population of Dallas citizens so important to the future of our city.”
Lynda Ender, AGE Director for the Senior Source in Dallas, expressed her excitement about the new facility. “The Senior Source team and I are thrilled the City of Dallas recognizes the value in having a dedicated place for activities specifically designed for older adults,” Ender said.
The WellMed Charitable Foundation pioneered its nationally recognized senior center model in San Antonio, where it operates three large senior activity centers – two in conjunction with the City of San Antonio. The Foundation also operates a senior center in Corpus Christi with the City of Corpus Christi, and solely runs a center in Austin, two in the Rio Grande Valley and two in Miami, Fla. The nine centers have a combined membership of more than 38,900. To learn more about the WCF senior center programs, visit www.wellmedgives.org/senior-centers.
Dallas Park and Recreation offers diverse senior adult activities weekly at 43 recreation centers that include aerobics, walking clubs, weight training, book clubs, day trips, fitness and nutrition classes, and volunteer opportunities! Visit dallasparks.org for information about senior adult program activities.