Mercedes Cortez, Connie Batie and Norma Alvey in the Learning Center libraryGalveston seniors have a new UTMB space to call their own. The Sealy Center on Aging Learning Center is now open on Galveston Island.

The center, established to offer health information and educational opportunities to Galveston’s senior community, is available free to those 55 and older for social activities like book clubs, support groups, cards, dominoes, board games and hobby groups. Monthly guest speakers will discuss issues of interest to the senior community. A film series on aging is in the works. Details about upcoming special events will be publicized as programs are finalized.

“The Sealy Center on Aging is committed, in so many different ways, to creating new pathways to health for seniors everywhere,” said Dr. Elena Volpi, interim director of the Sealy Center on Aging. “The creation of a new public space for older adults in Galveston is a great way for us to share knowledge and create community all at the same time. I would like to invite all seniors from our community to visit our new center to experience first-hand what we have to offer.”

Expansive and peaceful, the space is filled with books, games, computers and printers, healthy aging resource materials, comfortable seating, meeting areas, game tables and a 60-inch wide-screen wall-mounted television with an array of videos focused on issues of concern to older adults. The center offers individual tutoring sign-up for those interested in better learning how to use their cell phones, tablets and computers.

A striking collection of large-format black-and-white portraits taken by local photographer and UTMB Sealy Center for Aging employee Marilyn Brodwick adorn the center’s walls. The pictures feature several well-known Galveston seniors whose strength, wisdom and dignity shine through.

“This new senior center is a fantastic resource for our local community,” said Dr. James Goodwin, vice president for research at UTMB and former director of the Sealy Center on Aging. “It answers a need for area seniors to increase their opportunities for social engagement.”

Since it opened in January, the new Sealy Center on Aging Learning Center has become a hub for senior activities of all kinds. Members of the UTMB Senior Walking Club keep their mileage log sheets in the new center, and use the pavilion as a safe, air-conditioned space to take their walks. The center has hosted formal and informal senior gatherings, including a presentation by the Area Agency on Aging offering assistance to seniors wishing to make changes to their Medicare plan. The UTMB Stroke Support Group and the RSVP senior volunteer program advisory council both have used the space for recent meetings.

On May 20 at 10 a.m., the center will host a free one-hour discussion on a Medicare-related topic. Reservations will be required due to limited seating. Educational discussions planned for the future will focus on healthier, safer living for seniors as well as topics ranging from finance to spirituality.

“This is just the beginning of a wonderful new resource to help fill the needs of our older friends, from health education to healthy socialization,” said Ritchie Adoue, director of the RSVP senior volunteer program and coordinator of the center. “I am personally grateful that UTMB and the Sealy Center on Aging have such a strong interest in meeting the needs of all of us as we grow older.”

Adoue is seeking input from community members about programs and activities they would like to see take place at the center. She is available at 409-771-3044 or