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The Important Role of Senior Centers to the Local Community

How important are senior centers to older adults?

Recently the California Commission on Aging conducted a research project to examine the existing understanding about senior centers.

They found that senior centers are designated as community focal points that not only provide helpful resources to older adults, but serve the entire community with information on aging; support for family caregivers, training professionals and students; and developments of innovative approaches to aging issues. ¹

In 2008, the Commonwealth of PA funded a study of older adults in the state titled: “Understanding the Impact of Senior Community Center Participation on Elders’ Health and Wellbeing.” ²

Study findings suggest:

Both the California and Pennsylvania studies conclude that successful aging is more likely when individuals are actively engaged in life. Senior centers are one of the most accessible, friendly and inexpensive places that offer programs and services that promote active engagement and enjoyment of life by older adults.

Senior Centers around Pennsylvania recognize the increasing and changing needs of older adults in the community.

The following list of activities and services are typical of programs offered by many senior centers.

The PA and CA research found that senior centers need to continue to adapt, drawing on their strengths and relationships with community partners and organizations to become more of a hub, linking individuals to a wider range of activities and services in the community.

Kathy Sullivan, Executive Director of the West Chester Area Senior Center in West Chester, PA describes the role of senior centers as “a place for older adults to meet 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 the center and community.”

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