CAROLINA FOREST, S.C. (WBTW) — As the senior community on the Grand Strand grows, the need to grow with them does too. 

The Horry County Council on Aging serves seniors by providing them fun, entertaining chances to socialize and get involved in their community. 

Elaine Gore, executive director of the HCCOA, said the new Carolina Forest senior center has been in the works for more than five years, but COVID-19 kept slowing the process down.

“During COVID, we had to close several times, and people got so sad and depressed,” Gore said. “Having a place to go and something to do can fight off dementia and things that we don’t want.”

The original Carolina Forest senior center was nestled in a 1,500 square-foot storefront in a strip mall. It could hold about 30 seniors, but it was clear for a long time that the center needed more space. 

“We have been over that when we have parties and things, but we shouldn’t be,” Gore said. 

The new senior center is more than 5,000 square-feet and can accommodate more than 125 seniors. Gore said she only expects that number to grow once the center opens. 

“I think our attendance will grow on a daily basis,” Gore said. “50% right off the bat.”

The new senior center is nestled right beside the Carolina Forest Library and Carolina Forest Recreation Center. The location allows seniors to take advantage of what the county has to offer. 

“We can capitalize on their amenities too like walking trails, exercise programs,” Gore said. “So it’s a good unity. Our location really makes it a bonus for the seniors.”

Gore said senior centers are important for our seniors to feel a part of the community. She said they love coming and enjoying their routines. 

“They love them. We have just about any activity in Horry County that you could possibly think of,” Gore said. “Information delivery is very important to keep seniors abreast of what’s going on, especially with Medicare. Any senior that comes to us with troubles, we try to help them.”