Senior Action, a nonprofit organization working with older adults in the Upstate community, celebrated on Thursday, April 15 the opening of its new facility on E. North Street in Greenville in a ceremony attended by South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster.
The new, 32,000-square-foot building covers more than twice the space of the previous facility and features a fitness studio, conference center with seating for up to 400 people and a fine arts center. The organization will lease other parts of the facility in an effort to diversify and sustain funding.
Already, Senior Action has leased space to a hair academy and a restaurant and more spaces are available, according to the group’s executive director, Andrea Smith.
“We’re hoping to attract people who really want to serve the senior population,” said Smith, adding that tenants don’t have to only serve seniors but just have “the senior population at heart.”
“One thing that I think especially is important that Senior Action has done here, what is state of the art. We don’t have anything like this in South Carolina, and I really don’t think we have anything like it in the eight states that I work with,” said Connie Munn, the director of the South Carolina Department of Aging.
Gov. McMaster evoked rock legend Tina Turner during his remarks, recalling how the singer has kept active even in her 80s: ‘They ask her how do you do it? How do you stay young and keep doing it? She says, “I keep doing it.”
He added, “For a variety of reasons. [Senior Action is] a place where we can show thanks to those who have done what they’ve done to get us to where we are. It’s a place that they can enjoy, meet new friends and where they can still be productive in their senior years.”
Smith said the new facility is needed to help older adults reconnect, especially after the pandemic.
“The rest of the world is used to going to school, going to work, having a human connection on a regular basis and when the pandemic hit all of that was kind of taken away from people and they felt the isolation and the loneliness in a much more real way than they really ever have,” Smith said. Seniors, she said, feel this all the time. “The need for human connection is something that we all have and every human being needs to meet other people and longs to meet other people.”