Senior centers are a type of community center that provides activities and programs for older adults. When you think of a senior center, you may picture people sitting around playing cards or Bingo; but senior centers are more than just that! Senior centers offer a wide range of services and supports, and are a great gateway for older adults to get connected to others in their communities. Every year since 1979, the National Council on Aging (NCOA), has celebrated Senior Center Week. In 1985, President Ronald Reagan even signed the first Senior Center Week Presidential Proclamation, and in 2007 the week-long celebration was extended to the full month of September!
This year, the theme is Senior Centers: Masters of Aging! The National Institute of Senior Centers (part of NCOA) encourages senior centers and those who work in them to show their communities how their centers are experts in aging. Senior centers are great for many reasons, as they provide a place for older adults to participate in social activities, exercise, lectures, communal meals, financial training and so much more! We talk about loneliness a lot as COAPS, and getting involved in a local senior center is a great way for the older adults we work with to combat loneliness.
You can access the NCOA program guide for ideas and examples of what other centers are doing here: Program Guide
The guide is broken up into four useful categories; Enrich, Engage, Enlighten and Empower. We know that as COAPS, you are constantly doing all four of these with the people you work with, so keep up the good work! Use this month’s celebration to learn some new ideas of how to help our older adults master this stage of life!
The guide also highlights some other days to celebrate this month with activities and resources, such as:
September 10th: Grandparents Day
September 15th: Senior Center Month National Advocacy Day
September 22nd: Falls Prevention Awareness Day
Are you a COAPS who is working in a senior center or with an individual who visits one? What are you doing to “master aging”? What are some activities that have worked well for you as a COAPS in senior center settings? Feel free to let us know on our Facebook page, or send us an email so we can share your insights with other COAPS!