Say goodbye to the senior center of the past full of bingo, card games, and bland food. Today’s senior center is much more robust, offering vital support to the elder generations in our society. With more than 14,000 active facilities across the country, there’s sure to be one in your neighborhood.
As we age, we face new challenges physically, culturally, and geographically. This can lead to isolation, loneliness, increased health risks, and a lack of awareness or available resources that could improve quality of life.
Many senior citizens underestimate how important it is to engage with others regularly. Once an individual has retired, it can become more difficult to have adequate social interaction. While the average senior center guest is 75, most senior centers welcome anyone over the age of 50.
Senior centers are a wonderful resource for aging individuals to connect with important community services such as nutrition support, fitness programs, transportation services, public benefits counseling, employment assistance, volunteer opportunities, social activities, educational programs, and much more. This valuable resource acts as a social hub, providing a place for seniors to remain active and independent.
From meal delivery for the homebound to nutrition classes for those on sight, senior centers are a natural place for the older population to find support around nutrition. Most centers also have a fitness center, exercise classes, walking groups, and other opportunities for participants to maintain mobility as they age. Other available services could include tips to help reduce the fear of falling, blood pressure and glucose screenings, and support for managing chronic health conditions.
It’s common to find dances, fundraisers, luncheons, book clubs, arts and crafts, and many other opportunities for seniors to engage with others socially at a senior center. Even outside of organized activities, every time a senior enters the facility, they’re sure to find others with similar ages, interests, and availability nearby to connect with.
There are a multitude of programs and services available to the older members of our society. Transportation services, case management, in-home services for personal care, legal services, mental health services, adult day care and many more are often available through local senior centers.
For seniors who are interested in continuing to work as a way of supplementing their income, a visit to their local senior center is a good place to start. Many centers offer coaching and employment resources to help them find a good fit. This can even include access to computer, history, or foreign language courses to help seniors expand their skillsets.
According to the National Council on Aging, research shows that when compared with their peers, senior center participants have higher levels of health, social interaction, and life satisfaction. Research also shows that older adults who participate in senior center activities can learn to manage and delay the onset of chronic diseases and experience physical, social, spiritual, emotional, mental, and economic improvements in their lives.
Click the area name for assistance locating a senior center in Arizona, Los Angeles, San Diego, Florida, Pennsylvania, or Texas. If you are not from one of these areas, consider this helpful search tool: https://www.allaboutseniors.org/search. Select “Senior Centers” under the category and your area under “area” before hitting “submit” to run your search.