Nancy Fisher | 24th Street
|Ann Silber. Photo Nancy Fisher
As Del Mar Community Connections (DMCC) approaches its fifteenth year of serving our city’s senior population, the Sandpiper looks back at its origins with Ann Silber, one of the founding members.
SP: You were one of the founding organizers of DMCC. What was your vision then of the most crucial community need, and how is that different almost 15 years later?
AS: The social activities were most crucial then. This community, as you know, is rich with interesting people - and if we found people who wanted to exercise, well, then we started an exercise class! At that time you had to go to the Presbyterian Church in Solana Beach to exercise! So we worked with Linda Stetson from Adult Education and Pat Vergne at the City and put together the classes that are still held at the Powerhouse today.
Programs kind of grew from their own energy, and if a program didn’t have enough energy to keep going, then we didn’t offer it again or it just fell by the wayside. Arlene Lighthall loved travel then and she’s doing it again now. Charlotte Gumbrell started the card games that still take place at the Powerhouse each Wednesday. Sarah Dubin-Vaughn was very interested in doing what has become one of the more active and necessary programs, which is transporting people to doctor appointments or picking up their prescriptions. Mary Ann Emerson continues to host wonderful monthly lunches.
SP: We’ve all heard the story about DMCC growing from a meeting at your kitchen table with Nancy Weare and a few others. What happened next?
AS: At first we met every Saturday and tried to answer the questions before they’d come up. Later we started meeting monthly at the city annex and, although we took it seriously enough to get the job done, we had a lot of fun. One Saturday Nancy brought Jerry Finnell. She was out for a walk, met him, and asked him if he wanted to be the treasurer for the group. That’s how informal we were. In fact, we were many months into the process before we even had a name. As things were needed, they were implemented. Up by the bootstraps!
SP: What have been the greatest improvements in our community life with the help of DMCC?
AS: Again, social interaction has been the greatest benefit. Service was the original idea, and social has been an enormous bonus. If you look at the calendar that Heather Glenn puts together every month, there’s something to do every day if you choose.
SP: How have you benefitted most from the programs and services offered by DMCC?
AS: I met new people. People my age don’t meet new people; in fact, the circle gets smaller. You have to be careful not to let the circle get too small, and I’ve met many new people through DMCC. “I wouldn’t know you!”
SP: What are the unmet needs of our senior residents? What other programs should be offered?
AS: I’ve heard requests for help with end-of-life issues, especially for those with spouses who are incapacitated and no longer able to participate in decisions like setting up a trust. I’d also like to see a play-reading class and a world/current affairs program. Ongoing events that help seniors appraise their antiques would be useful, too – maybe events that focus on a single item, like silverware.
SP: What are your suggestions for increasing volunteerism in our community, which relies heavily on citizen participation?
AS: I don’t know how to do it, but I’d sure like to see more people getting involved as they retire. People who volunteer need to ask others – they’re the best salespeople for increasing participation.
SP: What advice do you have about living one’s senior years in Del Mar?
AS: Consider yourself lucky that you live in such a rich community. What do I need? Nothing. I’ve got paradise!