Celebrating National Senior Center Month
The effects of COVID-19 on our physical and mental health will be studied and analyzed for many years. Professionals in the aging field were already aware of the devastating impact of social isolation and loneliness, but COVID shed new light on this issue worldwide.
As we continue to emerge from the COVID pandemic, we realize more than ever the importance of the connections offered at senior centers. Now is the perfect time to promote and support all they offer. While senior centers are considered a place for recreation and fun, they enrich lives, provide access to resources, offer health and wellness opportunities, and support lifelong learning. The National Council on Aging has chosen the perfect theme for this year’s recognition, Strengthening Community Connections.
Introduced in 1943, the first senior center provided older adults with limited income access to social activities, meals, and case management services. While these core services are still provided at many senior centers, the additional programs and resources are invaluable.
The National Institute of Senior Centers reports the following information:
- Approximately 70% of senior center participants are women; half of them live alone.
- The majority are Caucasian, followed by African American, Hispanic, and Asian.
- Compared with their peers, senior center participants have higher levels of health, social interaction, and life satisfaction and lower income levels.
- The average age of participants is 75.
- 75% of participants visit their center one to three times per week and spend an average of 3.3 hours per visit.
Senior centers rely heavily on community partnerships and volunteers to provide programs and services, and many are also Older Americans Act nutrition sites. Senior centers offer health, fitness and wellness programs, transportation, public benefits counseling, volunteer opportunities, social and recreational activities, educational and arts programs, and intergenerational activities. Many of today’s senior centers serve a 40+ year age span, so they must have diverse programming to meet the needs of multiple generations, cultures, and degrees of physical abilities.
September is the perfect time to take a tour and learn more about all the wonderful programs and services available at senior centers in your community.
- TAGS: Outputs to Outcomes, Silos to Systems
- CATEGORIES: Social Participation, Community Support and Health Services, Communication and Information