Five Advantages of Senior Center: Why You Should Give it a Try

How are senior centers funded?

To maintain operations, senior centers must receive funding from a variety of sources. These include federal, state, and local governments; special events; public and private grants; businesses; participant contributions; in kind donations; and volunteer hours. Most centers rely on 3 to 8 different funding sources. Senior centers serve as a gateway to the nation’s aging network that connects older adults to vital community services that can help them stay healthy and independent. More than 60% of senior centers are designated focal points for delivery of OAA services which allows older adults to access multiple services in one place.

Senior centers offer a wide variety of programs and services, including:

· Meal and nutrition programs
· Information and assistance
· Health, fitness, and wellness programs
· Transportation services
· Public benefits counseling
· Employment assistance
· Volunteer and civic engagement opportunities
· Social and recreational activities
· Educational and arts programs
· Intergenerational programs

Furthermore, senior centers Tampa offer independence for aging adults. They play a very important role in the lives of elders today by encouraging them to become and remain social. Socializing can help seniors with depression, dementia, or Alzheimer’s. I know placing a parent or grandparent in a senior center may not be somewhere they see themselves but you can make it easy for them. Go along with your parent for the day and make it an adventure and then maybe take them to lunch. In most communities like in Hillsborough County any aging adult who is 60 years old or older can join a senior center. You can also see the things that a senior center has to offer that Mom or Dad might be interested in or enjoy. Knowing that your parent is at a center or on an escorted field trip can reduce the stress and anxiety you may have about your parents sitting home watching television all day or being alone. The main thing is to get them out and about, keeping their minds active.

Senior centers allow elders to develop a social network by making and meeting new friends. Senior centers offer programs and services like crafts, bingo, fitness, dances classes, travel to museums, computer classes, health screenings, informational speakers, daily meals, birthday luncheons to celebrate each member’s birthday and much more. Many senior centers also offer outings to do things such as live performances, movies, and tours of different museums. Your loved one gets out of the house, has an opportunity to socialize with seniors their age, while getting some light exercise and enjoying a good meal with great friends. Each senior center usually publishes a monthly calendar with a schedule of daily activities or programs to get involved in.

To get your elder started, sign them up at your local center and tell them that they do not need to go every day. They can start once a week, playing bingo, or sitting in the parlor to socialize. This way they will not feel pressured or overwhelmed. You will see that before you know it, Mom and/or Dad will be visiting the senior center on a daily basis. Suddenly catching up on their favorite television program may not be a priority anymore. So what if your parent/grandparent suffers from Alzheimer’s/Dementia and is too far gone to meaningfully participate at a senior center? Why not explore Adult Day options? These programs offer the socialization that some say is vital to keeping the disease at bay while also providing a safe, secure environment, specifically catered to your parent’s needs.

Activities in senior center:

1. Group Exercise Classes

Group exercises, like yoga, Tai Chi or Zumba, are fun and social ways to improve flexibility and balance, key to helping prevent falls in older adults. Some communities offer chair exercise classes, and others, water aerobics programs, which can appeal to seniors living with arthritis.

2 .Wii Sports

The elder in your life may not be able to shoot baskets anymore, but Nintendo’s Wii interactive computer games, where you move your body instead of pressing buttons or using a joystick offer a nice alternative. There are a variety of games the sports minded senior can play, including bowling, tennis and golf and the aforementioned basketball. They will also feel ‘hip’ because they will be learning technology like the ‘young folks’.

3. Walking Clubs

Walking around the community is an easy way for a senior to keep active, and when done with others it’s a good avenue to making friends. Some communities like in Hillsborough County even arranges transportation so that club members can walk in a nearby park or walking path.

4. Gardening Clubs

Gardening is a super way to get outdoors and stay active and connected to others. Digging in the dirt and planting and weeding can help seniors relax and unwind; not only that, they get to reap the benefits of their labor: beautiful flowers or tasty veggies.

5. Book Clubs

If the elder in your life is an avid reader, then chances are they’d love the opportunity to share their opinion about a book with others. Not only do book clubs support seniors in staying sharp by using their brains, they also become mentally alert and in touch with the world, they also have a huge social element.

6. Life Story Exercises

There may be no more meaningful activity for elders than capturing their own unique life story, either in written form or by gathering their photos and mementos together in a scrapbook, not only do they preserve a slice of history, they get the chance to reflect on their own life experiences.

7. Lectures and Continuing Ed Classes

Reading is a good way to pass time and see what’s happening in the world. To facilitate this, some communities in Hillsborough County provide on-site lectures or continuing ED classes while others arrange for residents to take advantage of the academic and cultural offerings of nearby colleges.

8. Art Classes

For seniors who have worked hard all their lives just to make a living, retirement can open the door to a newfound creativity. Watercolor and acrylic painting as well as drawing and sketching are all high on the list of artistic expression, and making art in a group can be an enjoyable way to engage with others.

9. Pottery/Ceramics Classes

Crafts like pottery or ceramics are also high on the activity agenda of assisted living communities. Shaping wet clay into allows seniors an outlet for their creativity and provides a stimulating hands-on learning opportunity that can be perfect for those with low vision.

10. Jewelry Making

Making necklaces or bracelets is another fun craft that can help seniors improve fine motor skills and provide an outlet for creativity, plus participants get the bonus of wearing, gifting, or even selling the beautiful items they create.

11. Music

What can be more rejuvenating for an older adult than making or listening to music? Senior living communities incorporate music into the lives of residents in many ways. Not only do they bring in musicians for onsite concerts, they encourage seniors to make their own music through singalongs or karaoke.

12. Music Therapy

Music has an undeniable healing power, but especially for those who live with dementia. Some assisted living communities, in particular those devoted to memory care, bring in trained music therapists to entertain and provide small-group cognitive stimulation. In some communities, seniors with a history of musicianship can even participate to provide entertainment or music therapy activities for their friends and neighbors.

13. Pet Therapy

Rubbing a dog’s belly can make many of us feel all warm and fuzzy, and it’s particularly comforting to those who gave up pets when they moved into assisted living. Pet therapy programs which bring dogs to snuggle with seniors can fill the gap.

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