The process to purchase and renovate the building began in 2002 and Fink believes it was after Thanksgiving in 2004 when they opened the doors in the renovated first-grade and kindergarten classrooms where she attended as a child.
That was one of the major changes during her tenure as director. Then in 2006, Elder Haus became a Real Services site. Moving the program to Elder Haus made it all that more accessible to seniors. Lunch is served daily during the week for a minimal cost.
Another big change was losing the van, affectionately nicknamed “Max 1” after Bigler, in the tornado that tore through town Oct. 18, 2007. Fink started a grant process to replace the van. A second van and a second driver were added as ridership increased.
Randy Hoffman started as a substitute driver for the senior center. Hoffman is now a part-time employee helping with transportation and the phones. Two other part-time drivers have since been added.
The center added more exercise equipment and a Wii, which many of the seniors enjoy using, Elder Haus officials said.
Elder Haus is open five days a week from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and offers puzzles, cards, games, quilting, exercise, Real Services lunch, coffee and special activities, including going out to lunch, to plays at the Round Barn Theatre and a monthly “mystery trip.”
Fink said her biggest challenge has probably been getting seniors in the door the first time to see all that the Elder Haus offers.
“If we could get more seniors to come and see what we offer — see what a homey place we have and how much fun we have here,” she believes even more seniors would attend.
What has brought her the most satisfaction is “learning to know all the different personalities and have them become like family. When people are here five days a week they become like family.”