Senior Spotlight: Richard R

“Serving Seniors brings people together and gives people a reason to be and to do things.” 


Richard’s journey with Serving Seniors began over 10 years ago when he was looking for resources to keep his aging mother busy. That’s when he stumbled across the Gary and Mary West Senior Wellness Center. But it wasn’t just Richard’s mother who enjoyed going. Richard also found himself looking forward to volunteering by helping other seniors in the computer lab. The two spent a few years coming to the Wellness Center until unfortunately his mother passed. And then four years ago, Richard found himself back. Now 74 and retired, he’s finding new activities and a community with Serving Seniors. 


Chances are when you go to the Wellness Center, you’ll find Richard there singing karaoke, volunteering, or socializing with other seniors during lunch. Karaoke is his favorite activity and before coming to the Serving Seniors, he had never done it. Now he’s found a new passion,  “Singing gives me a good lung exercise. When singing, I can actually speak louder than I normally do. I can pronounce better and get a sense of rhythm,” says Richard. He has even joined two other choirs in the community – Voices of Our City Choir and the choir at the First Presbyterian Church of San Diego. 


Voices of Our City Choir performed at the Serving Seniors World of Difference Donor and Volunteer Appreciation event in April. As a Senior Volunteer Ambassador, this was a special treat for Richard because not only was he recognized for his contributions to Serving Seniors, but he got to show off his vocal skills during the event. 


Richard used to work as a radio operator, so being at the Wellness Center has helped him expand his interests by showing his artistic and creative side. Last year, he participated in our annual Artopia event for seniors to showcase their artwork and he looks forward to participating again in the future. 

Besides keeping himself busy, the other biggest impact Serving Seniors has had on Richard is providing him with the opportunity to meet new people and develop friendships. He says, “Everyone has a story. Everyone has an adventure they go through.” He enjoys learning about others and sharing his story. 


For older adults, staying socially active and intellectually engaged plays a crucial role in their mental and physical health. According to the CDC, socially isolated seniors are 50% more likely to develop dementia, have a 29% increased risk of heart disease, and 32% increased risk of stroke. 


Thanks to you and our community of supporters, we’re able to offer 850 classes a year to older adults throughout San Diego County. The opportunity to learn new skills and try new things helps keep seniors like Richard's minds sharp, promotes active lifestyles, and gives them valuable opportunities to meet new people and create lasting connections.