Aging Vibrantly

Exploring LIFE Senior Services’ new 39,000-square-foot hub for Tulsa seniors

The term “senior” encompasses a broad spectrum of people – from those who have recently retired and are ready to take up new hobbies to those who need supervision and care during the day. Thanks to LIFE Senior Services and their many generous supporters, Tulsa seniors will soon be able to enjoy a comprehensive hub for healthcare and recreation - no matter where they are on that spectrum.

LIFE Senior Services, already one of Tulsa’s largest senior service organizations, expects to have programs at the new LIFE Senior Campus and Roma Berry Center for Seniors up and running in January 2024. The newly renovated, 39,000-square-foot development is located just off 51st Street between Sheridan and Memorial. As President and CEO Eileen Bradshaw said, it puts LIFE Senior Services’ three main branches under one roof: the LIFE PACE clinic, the Active Senior Center, and the Adult Day Health program. 

“It’s really maximizing the array of options that we can offer to seniors,” Bradshaw said. 

It’s also making community convenient. Seniors will be able to attend appointments at the LIFE PACE clinic, which provides medical care, social services, and meals, and enjoy others’ company at the new Active Senior Center’s basketball and pickleball courts, fully equipped art studio, and more – all in one visit. 

Bradshaw said the campus will be particularly transformative for participants in the organization’s Adult Day Health program, which serves seniors who aren’t safe at home alone during the day.

“It’s very secure, all fenced-in, but it’s got beautiful outdoor walking trails that are wheelchair accessible, a huge patio, a big, expansive room with lots of light for activities, and even a quiet room for those whose dementia has them feeling more agitated,” she said.

Creating a new hub for Tulsa seniors also means giving couples and friends a place to go together, even if they’re at different points in the aging process. 

“This would allow one spouse to come and play cards or pickleball or take guitar lessons, and the other to go to adult day health and hang out with folks there, and they could go home together,” Bradshaw said.

LIFE Senior Services has known for years that they’d wanted to create a centrally located hub for Tulsa seniors. But its elements began falling into place during the pandemic, when Bradshaw and her team found Tulsa’s old Bates Elementary School campus, a seemingly perfect site, for sale.

“I contacted a very generous woman named Ruth Nelson and told her that we had come across this building that I thought would really change the way we would be able to serve and that if she would like to discuss it, just to give me a call,” Bradshaw said. “I think it was within three minutes that her name was on my caller ID. I still get chills – she was amazing.”

Nelson and the development’s many other contributors didn’t just improve life for one type of Tulsa senior. Bradshaw said the new campus speaks to desires all seniors – and all people – have. 

“We serve folks as young as 50. We have participants in a variety of our programs who are over 100. Some are super active; some need a little more help. We have folks who are low-income, and we have folks who are affluent. What they all have in common is a desire to age as independently and vibrantly as they can – and I think we all want that,” Bradshaw said. “This campus really gives our city a locus point to keep seniors connected and involved, and that’s something that, as a community, we all benefit from.”

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