Wellness Wednesday: Keep living your story at Asheville community centers for older adults

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Each September, community centers for older Americans celebrate the wellness, cultural, and social opportunities they provide. Asheville Parks & Recreation (APR) has two such centers that specialize in recreation and leisure programming for community members who’ve reached the prime of life. 

Harvest House originally opened as a retail space in Kenilworth and was converted to a community center in 1964. The center on Grove Street was developed as Senior Opportunity Center in the 1970s with direction from the Older Americans Act.

Community centers for older adults have changed since their beginnings in the 1940s, as National Council on Aging and National Institute of Senior Centers point out with this year’s theme: Strengthening Community Connections. However, they remain true to their original intent to be local, trusted places in their communities connecting people to programs, services, and opportunities needed to age well.

Both of APR’s community centers for older adults are open from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. on Monday-Friday (except for special events). While these centers are focused on older adults, all ages are welcome. 

Burton Street, Linwood Crump Shiloh, and Stephens-Lee community centers have regular programs designed for those aged 60 and above; all APR community centers offer active living opportunities for community members of every age. Browse APR’s current program guide for a listing of all activities.

Harvest House Community Center – 205 Kenilworth Rd.

With a dance and exercise studio, billiard tables, woodshop, sculpting studio, weaving arts room, lounging area, movie screen, shuffleboard court, and multipurpose room, Harvest House has plenty of weekly opportunities to stimulate creativity, mobility, and social engagement. Fall day trips to Cherokee, Asheville Art Museum, and local restaurants allow newcomers and longtime residents to connect to the larger community.

Browse current programs and opportunities or call 828-350-2051 for more information. 


Senior Opportunity Community Center –  36 Grove St.

Located in downtown, the center on Grove Street is slightly smaller than Harvest House, but makes the most of its space with crafts, sewing, exercise equipment, billiards, ping pong, dining tables, greenhouse, and outdoor picnic area. Daily and weekly programs include card games, bingo, modified exercise and nutrition classes, arts and crafts, and educational experiences.

The center hosts Super Saturday open houses on the fourth Saturday of the month from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Special events planned for fall include billiards tournaments, cake baking competition, pre-Thanksgiving potluck, and bowling at Star Lanes.

Browse current programs and opportunities or call 828-350-2062 for more information.


Council on Aging Dining and Wellness Program

The Council on Aging Dining and Wellness program offers eligible adults the opportunity to enjoy daily nutritious, hot lunches from Moose Cafe along with weekly fresh local produce in a fun, safe, and social setting at Senior Opportunity and Linwood Crump Shiloh community centers, as well as other locations in Buncombe County. More than a meal, this program connects participants to health and wellness programming, opportunities for socialization, and community resources.

This program is funded through grants received by Council on Aging of Buncombe County. While there is no charge to participate, individuals are given the opportunity to expand services through consumer contributions. Reservations after registration are required. Visit COA’s website for more information.


Twice a month, Asheville Parks & Recreation shares a resource or tip that can help in the development of intellectual, emotional, occupational, environmental, financial, spiritual, physical, or social wellbeing. For previous Wellness Wednesday articles, check out the archive.