A senior center is a place in a community where seniors can gather for support, socialization, fitness and/or other services provided for older people. Senior centers are important as many older people live alone and don't see family members regularly. The resources and activities available at many of today's senior centers help many older people remain a vital part of their communities.
While senior centers vary widely in size and scope of services available, every senior center has regular meetings for members. There may be a small fee required for membership, plus extra fees needed to cover costs for crafts or field trips, but those with a limited income usually receive a discount to make the activities affordable. The main idea behind a senior center is to provide a welcoming environment for all seniors in the community interested in taking part in the group atmosphere.
A senior center may be located within a larger community center complex or it may be in a separate building. It may be completely or partially government-funded or rely mostly on donations to keep going. Volunteers and paid staff may work together to organize the programs, services and activities at seniors centers. The seniors themselves also often volunteer at their center.
Outside activities at a senior center may include lawn bowling while indoor options may include playing cards or other games as well as creating crafts. Dances and other events may be held and outings to casinos or concerts may be arranged. Since many seniors no longer drive, senior centers are often located on a bus route and/or are in the central core of a city or town.
Senior center staff may provide referrals to services for seniors such as meal delivery or home care aide services. Different areas have different types of senior centers. For some seniors, the center may be their only source of socialization with people their own age so a senior center can fulfill a very important role in society.