WellesleyWeston Magazine


Launched in 2005, WellesleyWeston Magazine is a quarterly publication tailored to Wellesley and Weston residents and edited to enrich the experience of living in two of Massachusetts' most desirable communities.

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Page 109 of 219

Catlin, who designed his first senior center nearly 30 years ago, said he was filling the building with elegant touches that will excite younger visitors and ensure the safety of older ones. "A lot of design elements are smuggled in so the very frail can manage the building easily, but the younger people don't see it as 'Oh my god, this is only for old people.'" The wooden cap of the wainscoting doubles as a support element. "For the boomers, it looks like a really cool decoration; for somebody who really needs to lean on a rail, it's there for them," he said. The coffered ceilings — besides adding to the building's residential feel — absorb sound. They're made up of tiles that are 50 percent better at dampening noise than those in a typical office. They also muffle high frequency sounds, which are particularly distracting for seniors who wear hearing aids. Discreetly mounted fabric wall panels will keep the decibel level down in such potentially noisy areas as the multipurpose room. With a small stage at one end and space for dining tables at the other, it can accommodate 100 people for a concert or be divided in two at lunchtime. sit while waiting for a class. "Think about it: If you want to have a busi- ness meeting or catch up with an old friend — it's always, 'Let's meet for a cup of coffee,'" said Terri Tsagaris, a former selectman who has been another key player in the campaign for the senior center. In warmer months, visitors will be able to step through glass doors onto a patio off the lounge. In the winter, they can sit alone or in small groups, playing board games, reading magazines, or surfing the Net on one of the iPads the center will have on loan. * * * Together, Thieme and Catlin confronted a major design challenge: How do you create a place that will attract the multi-generational demo- graphic that constitutes the freighted word: "senior"? The Council on Aging defines seniors as ages 60 and up. That group spans workers in their prime to long-time retirees — people with a broad range of interests and needs that can't be pigeonholed neatly by chronological age. "You could have someone in the same exercise class who is 60 and someone in their 90s," Thieme said, citing the age range in existing programs. Multipurpose Room A lot of design elements are smuggled in so the very ail can manage the building easily. 108 W e l l e s l e y W e s t o n M a g a z i n e | s u m m e r 2 0 1 7 A Place for Seniors to Grow Young

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