Thank you!

October 22, 2018 - Serving Seniors

Our CEO Paul Downey wanted to take the time to personally thank each and every one of our supporters. Without your help, we wouldn’t be able to continue our mission of changing the lives of low-income and homeless seniors in San Diego County. We appreciate you!

A Senior Center Unlike Any Other

September 21, 2018 - Serving Seniors

September is National Senior Center Month, a time to celebrate the thousands of institutions countrywide that are like a second home to our nation’s older adults—institutions like Serving Seniors’ Gary & Mary West Senior Wellness Center.

Redefining the Senior Center

When we think about senior centers, we often think of congregate lunches, bingo, and socialization. However, Serving Seniors’ Gary & Mary West Senior Wellness Center (GMWSWC) was built on the idea that a senior center can be so much more.

Opened in 2010, our GMWSWC is unlike any other senior center in the United States. This innovative, leading-edge facility not only provides two servings of breakfast and three servings of lunch daily, but offers two floors of coordinated resources designed to keep seniors healthy and living independently in their homes for as long as possible.

The GMWSWC offers social services, nurses, health education, housing assistance for homeless seniors, and a range of activities that go far bar beyond bingo. Each year, Serving Seniors offers more than 850 classes and activities such as Feeling Fit Club, tai chi, travel and culture classes, healthy cooking demonstrations, talent competitions, games, arts and crafts, and a daily walking group. Our Cyber Café offers free computer and printing facilities, and volunteer students from High Tech High frequently come and assist our seniors in using the computers.

Our Collaborative Model

In addition to the wraparound services and resources provided on-site, our GMWSWC is unique thanks to its collaborative model, with more than 25 collaborative partners providing services on-site at the GMWSWC each month. Our partners include California Western School of Law, which provides law students offering legal advice; Sharp Health, which provides a Psychiatric Nurse offering mental health services and group counseling; and many more.

The GMWSWC is also the official home of the Gary & Mary West Senior Dental Center, a separate 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization providing free and affordable dental services to low-income seniors. Our clinical team of nurses, case managers, and care navigators works closely with the Dental Center to provide access to oral health services and meet the wraparound health and wellness needs of clients receiving dental care.

Celebrate Good Times

The GMWSWC isn’t all about services and meals. We also like to celebrate our clients and show them how special they are to us. Every month, we partner with corporate groups and individuals to host social activities, holiday parties, and even a Senior Birthday Party for all of the seniors celebrating a birthday in that month, complete with cake, punch, and gifts. These celebrations are key to promoting socialization, building connections between seniors, and recognizing the worth of older adults who often do not have any children or family—no one to celebrate their special day.

Our senior center is special because when a senior walks through our doors, they not only have opportunities to make new friends and socialize with old ones, but they have access to a range of comprehensive wraparound services. Serving Seniors is the only organization in San Diego County—and one of the few in the country—offering such a broad base of services to this vulnerable population, let alone under one roof.

Visit Us

The Gary & Mary West Senior Wellness Center is located at 1525 Fourth Avenue, San Diego, CA 92101, and is open 365 days a year from 7:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. The GMWSWC is accessible to all seniors aged 60 and older.

In honor of National Senior Center Month, please consider making a donation in support of our services or sponsoring a social activity at the Gary & Mary West Senior Wellness Center.

For more information about sponsorship opportunities, contact Luke Dumas at (619) 487-0746 or



Aging Successfully for All San Diegans

March 1, 2016 - Serving Seniors

It’s a goal that most everyone wants to reach: living successfully during our “golden years.”  Aging successfully refers to physical, mental and social well-being in older age. Yet for many seniors, these years are not so golden. With the increasing number of aging Americans — every 8 seconds a baby boomer will turn 65 until 2030 – we need to be prepared to address a multitude of growing issues.

How do we age successfully? Factors that enhance successful aging include financial security, physical wellness, interactions with family and friends, and a sense of purpose to get up each day. This is a formula we can aspire to achieve, but it is a challenge when living on a fixed income, when family and friends are miles away, or when physical issues prevent getting basic services.

For many seniors, aging becomes more of an exercise in survival than in living comfortably during their golden years. The California Elder Index documents the cost of living for seniors is a minimum of $1,943 per month to cover housing, food, health, transportation and other costs. However, many seniors live on about $850 per month. Some seniors are forced to choose whether to pay rent or buy their medicine and food.

Consider this: by 2030, the population of seniors in San Diego will increase by 75 percent to 929,766 people.  That’s nearly one million people who will be aiming to age successfully. If your birthdate falls before 1971, you will be in this population of one million.

Now, consider that 41 percent of San Diego County’s senior population lives below the self-sufficiency level. At the projected rate of aging adults, we will soon have an epidemic-sized crisis of aging adults who cannot meet their basic needs.

Successful aging begins with successful service.  Quality care can be coordinated in one place to offer housing recommendations, mental health services, legal advice, financial literacy skills, volunteer opportunities, wellness services, dental services and more. Serving Seniors is one organization that is leading the way in providing a best practices model for care-coordinated service delivery to seniors. With the collaboration of partners in health, education, government and philanthropy, Serving Seniors is improving the lives of thousands of seniors every day.

The need for services will persist as more adults age. Aging successfully requires a community effort to embrace innovative approaches that offer solutions.  Please join our efforts in advocacy, philanthropy or collaboration to make the golden years accessible to all seniors. Because by 2030, many of us will be one in a million.

Serving Seniors named a Top Workplace Again!

November 24, 2015 - Serving Seniors

We’re proud to announce Serving Seniors has been named a Top Workplace of 2015 in the small business category by The San Diego Union-Tribune!  Top Workplaces are determined solely on the results of an anonymous employee feedback survey.

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“This [award] is an incredible testament to Serving Seniors’ culture of caring not only for our clients but our terrific staff as well. It also reflects positively on the caliber, passion and dedication of our team in serving San Diego’s poorest and most at-risk seniors,” says President/CEO Paul Downey. Serving Seniors’ team is committed to helping seniors living in poverty lead healthy and fulfilling lives.

We are proud to have a hard working staff that is dedicated to helping San Diego’s seniors.  Employees are empowered to make a difference for their team.  One employee says “I’ve been with the company for a long time and I believe in what we do for the seniors. It’s a great company to work for.” Another employee commented that working at Serving Seniors “allows me the latitude and independence to make decisions and try new ways of doing things.”

The Wellness Center Celebrates 5 Years!

April 10, 2015 - Serving Seniors

The Gary & Mary West Senior Wellness Center celebrated its five year anniversary this past Wednesday with cake and a visit from Gary and Mary themselves. Seniors flooded the dining room in anticipation of the celebration and there wasn’t an empty seat left in the house.

Friends from the West Foundation passing out cake

Friends from the West Foundation passing out cake

For many of our seniors, the Wellness Center has become a second home and the staff and other clients have become family.  Many take pride and ownership in the Wellness Center as it has become a fundamental aspect of their lives.  They come for breakfast and lunch and in between they take classes, participate in activities, surf the web at the Cyber Café, visit with their case manager or meet with a nurse.

Anniversary Banner Collage

The anniversary celebration felt more like a birthday party for a dear friend because that is what the Wellness Center represents for many of our seniors. We are proud and honored to be such a central part of the lives of so many seniors in San Diego.

Learn more about the Gary & Mary West Senior Wellness Center here.

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