AN ADVOCATE FOR SENIORS
Not only are her hours filled as manager of the Marjorie Stewart Senior Community Center in Sherwood, but Maiya Martin Burbank also finds time to advocate for Sherwood’s senior citizens.
Martin Burbank says her senior center fills several needs in the community, from providing nutritious lunches, with the help of Chef Dominic Sachet, to offering exercise classes, arts and crafts, games, painting, writing and group activities.
The center had stayed strong, even when it closed in March 2020 for in-person dining and activities due to COVID-19.
But it’s fully open once again, with lunches provided Monday through Friday.
Recalling the thick of the pandemic, Martin Burbank said, “We pivoted right over to delivering pick-up meals.”
Besides two part-time employees, Martin Burbank is nearly a one-person show at the center, being the only full-time employee.
But throughout her daily activities, Martin Burbank always looks out for seniors.
“I believe everybody needs an advocate, especially when it comes to meeting self-care, whether that’s emotional support, nutritional support, (or) medical support,” she said. “Everybody needs somebody to be their backup person for that.”
Noting that older Americans can sometimes be portrayed negatively in the media, Martin Burbank said, “It’s really a strong point for us here to make sure that everybody knows that older adults are still avid participants in the community and have a lot to give and receive from the community.”
In addition to advocating for the senior citizen community, Martin Burbank serves on the Washington County Suicide Prevention Council. She sits on the council’s steering committee.
Martin Burbank noted that seniors had been particularly negatively impacted by the pandemic, with isolation being a prevailing factor. COVID-19 is considerably more dangerous for older adults than children and younger adults, and organizations like the Marjorie Stewart Senior Community Center have taken special care to protect their patrons.
A depression management program for older adults will soon be offered at the senior center.
“It is a problem-solving treatment program that we will be offering here,” Martin Burbank said. “We’re also partnering with George Fox University and Pacific University to be able to have their psychology students here at the center to provide one-on-one counseling support and support group facilitation.”
Martin Burbank added, “We also have a program starting called “Circle of Friends,” which is a program that will be six to eight individuals. … We’re looking for social support and some escape from isolation. This group is expected to meet weekly to get involved in activities and build their friendship and support circle.”
Martin Burbank is pleased that the senior center has adapted to changes in the community and the world.
“I am always optimistic, but I’m also always ready to adapt when we need to,” she said. “We’ve gone through this past experience with COVID, and it has really shown us that we can adapt to the community’s needs and do what’s needed to meet them where they are.”