When you think of a senior center, you probably think of a place where elderly individuals get together and play cards. This is simply not true! Senior centers provide a variety of services to seniors. Individuals as young as 50 are taking advantage of all that their senior center has to offer. From meal and nutrition programs, to health and fitness programs, to employment assistance and transportation services. It’s time to discover the benefits of your local senior center!
What is a Senior Center?
A senior center is simply a community focal point; a place where seniors can visit to receive a wide variety of benefits and services that enhance their everyday lives. Some of the great things that senior centers offer include:
- Meal and nutrition programs
- Information and assistance
- Health, fitness and well programs
- Transportation services
- Public benefits counseling
- Employment assistance
- Volunteer and civic engagement opportunities
- Recreational and social activities
- Art and educational programs
The Benefits of These Services
Meal and nutrition programs provided by senior centers ensure resources are available so that seniors don’t go hungry. It also teaches senior citizens the basics on nutrition, which is key to maintaining better health and wellness. Along those same lines, senior centers offer fitness classes and other wellness programs. Seniors who maintain an active and healthy lifestyle remain independent in the home for a greater amount of time and live longer lives. Transportation services provide transport means to those who are unable to drive or who no longer own a vehicle. Such transportation services can take seniors to places like the grocery store or doctor’s offices for appointments. Senior centers also serve as a resource for opportunities to volunteer in local organizations. Discover the benefits of doing volunteer work! In addition to these advantages and countless others, senior citizen centers are designed to improve the social, spiritual, mental and economic well being of today’s elderly population. Elderly individuals who are involved in their local senior center are more active, have an increased social life, better mental cognition and maintain a more positive outlook.
Funding for Senior Centers
Senior centers are funded through several different sources. Local, state and federal funding help keep senior centers operational. Grants, both private and public, also help local senior centers keep their doors open. In addition, many of the programs provided by the center may request a suggested donation if individuals can afford to donate.
National Senior Center Month
September is National Senior Center Month, which is sponsored by the National Institute of Senior Centers, or NISC, affiliated with the National Council on Aging (NCOA). Almost 11,000 senior centers exist to provide services and programs to 1 million adults, ages 50 and older. To commemorate each year, National Senior Center Month has a different theme or message to spread the word about the benefits and advantages that senior centers offer.
Contact Your Local Senior Center Not sure where your senior center is located? Want to find out more about the activities and services the center near you offers? Get online or have a friend or loved one help you find your local senior center website. Every state has a program or organization focused on providing support for its aging population, although the name of the organization may vary. Many states offer resources on how to find a senior center near you.