Today’s senior centers are evolving to reflect a new view of aging that empowers the people they serve. They’re connecting older adults with meaningful work and volunteer opportunities, and increasing their access to valuable benefits and resources. Through evidenced-based program, they’re helping them manage their health and finances so they can continue to live in their homes as long as possible. From career counseling and financial planning to tools for staying health, there is no doubt senior center work!
Senior centers are designated as community focal points through the Older Americans Act. The National Institute of Senior Centers defines a senior center as a place where “older adults come together for services and activities that reflect their experience and skills, respond to their diverse needs and interests, enhance their dignity, support their independence, and encourage their involvement in and with the center and the community.”
Not only do senior centers offer helpful resources to older adults, they serve the entire community with information on aging; support for family caregivers, training professionals, lay leaders and students; and developments of innovative approaches to addressing aging issues.
While senior centers typically provide nutrition, recreation, social and educational services, and comprehensive information and referral, many centers are adding new programs such as fitness activities and Internet training to meet the needs and interests of the new generation of seniors.
Among the most common services offered at a senior center are:
- Health and wellness programs
- Arts and humanities
- Intergenerational programs
- Employment assistance
- Community action opportunities and social networking opportunities
- Transportation services
- Volunteer opportunities
- Educational opportunities
- Information and referral
- Financial assistance
- Meal and nutrition programs
- Leisure travel