Most cities, big or small, have a local Senior Center. They’re often small buildings near the heart of town and they have plenty to offer seniors in the area. I’ve stopped by several, because of my job, and I think you should encourage your parent or loved one to visit a local senior center!
What are senior centers all about?
The centers serve as a gateway to the aging network—connecting older adults to community services that can help them stay healthy and independent.
Each center is unique to its own community, offering programs and activities that align with the needs and requests of the seniors. The funding and support for the centers comes from the local branch of the Area Agency on Aging.
4 Reasons your parent should visit a local senior center
1. Activities: I visited the website of a very active senior center in my area. When I clicked on their “activities” page a calendar popped up that was filled with events. Bingo, dominoes, yoga, music performances, quilting and many other forms of fun were scheduled daily. For a senior who is interested in keeping busy there’s no shortage of options!
2. Daily meals: Many centers provide a daily lunch that is hearty and nutritious. If you’re over 60 there is no cost, only an option to donate if you’re willing. Maintaining a healthy diet can be a challenge for older adults, especially those living alone. The guarantee of at least one large, nutritious meal a day is a comforting thought to many caregivers.
Home-Delivered Meals are available to individuals who meet the eligibility requirements. Those receiving meals might be sent a monthly statement with a suggested contribution amount to offset the cost of the meals. Contact your local senior center for eligibility requirements.
3. Healthcare and medical experts: Often the center will invite industry experts to stop by for a presentation or hands-on clinic. It’s not uncommon to find trained professionals performing a foot clinic, hearing aid check & cleaning, or discussing medical alert pendants. You might hear from insurance agents and legal experts as well.
These presentations can be tremendous resources for seniors. Often they need the services but aren’t always able to travel to an appointment.
4. Community!!! Finally, and probably the most important, is COMMUNITY! Human beings are social creatures. Our connection to others enables us to survive and thrive. Yet, as we age, many of us are alone more often than before, leaving us vulnerable to social isolation and loneliness. This isolation leads to related health problems such as cognitive decline, depression, and heart disease.
Senior centers can offer a solution to this problem! Bringing older adults together to socialize can do wonders for their physical and mental health. Sharing stories of the past or present can develop a new friendship and revitalize a spirit.
So What Are You Waiting For?
Talk to your loved one about their local senior center. Take them yourself if you need to! For directions or hours of business you can contact your local senior center.
Their commitment to a well-rounded offering of wellness programs, education, fun activities and nutritious meals is unlike anything else offered to the senior population. The benefits for both physical and mental health are abundant.
Many things can be hard when caring for your parent…let this be something easy!