New senior center director hosts first feedback session

On Monday morning, Dec. 2, 16 Verona-area community members gathered with senior center director Stephanie Ehle in the center’s fireside room for coffee and cookies.

Ehle, who began in the position Oct. 7, wants to learn from the community. Monday’s “coffee with the director” session was the first in a new planned monthly series to gather feedback from center guests.

They shared concerns about the Death Cafe, a discussion group to share thoughts and fears about dying, that it sounded too morbid. They also said they wanted more live music at the center — specifically to bring Verona Area High School Students back following their Veterans Day performance.

Guests advocated for equine therapy — and a trip to Arlington, Illinois to see horse races.

Some members said they wanted to see the Nintendo Wii motion control video game system brought back, particularly for bowling games. Ehle was surprised there was still interest in the 2006 system. The center currently contracts the Rendever virtual reality system, which is geared towards residents of assisted living and senior care communities.

Ehle said she’s exploring ways to use Play-Doh in the center, which has been shown to help seniors with living with Alzheimer’s and dementia.

“I wanted to open the party line to good and bad feedback to make sure we are using our resources wisely in the coming year, but not make it into a formal process like a survey,” Ehle said.

She encouraged attendees to share their perceptions of the center, both good and bad, to help determine whether or not its meeting their needs.

One of the ideas was to put out a suggestion box for center guests to submit their ideas. However, Ehle said that when she took over, there was already such a box, and it hadn’t received a suggestion in two years, one of the reasons she felt this feedback session was necessary.

Overall, she felt the first feedback session went well.

“People just want to be heard,” Ehle said, “and I want to make sure this is their center.”

Contact Neal Patten, Verona Community Reporter at