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Senior Centers

Programs And Activities

It is clear that the breadth and depth of senior center programming has expanded considerably in the past fifty years. As senior centers enlarged their resource and user base and provisions of the Older Americans Act evolved to more clearly specify the types of services fundable at the local level, a progressive increase in service offerings followed. Data from a national longitudinal study of senior centers found a mean of eleven activities and sixteen services for 1989 (Krout, 1994a). Approximately 90 percent of the centers were reported to offer information and referral, transportation, and congregate meals, and 70 percent home-delivered meals. Over three-quarters of the centers offered health screening and maintenance, health education, and nutrition education. Telephone reassurance, friendly visiting, and information and assistance services—for consumers, housing, crime prevention, financial and taxes and legal aid, and social security—were offered by around two-thirds of the centers. Similar figures were found in a 1995 survey of over four hundred upstate New York congregate programs (Krout, 1996b).

A smaller percentage of the centers reported in-home services with one-third offering homemaker, home health, and home repair/ winterization. Special services, income supplement, and personal counseling and mental health services were reported by an even smaller percentage of centers (between 20 and 40 percent,) and adult day care by 15 percent. Not surprisingly, centers with larger budgets, more staff, and affiliations with multiservice organizations, as well as with a greater percentage of users with higher incomes and over age seventy-five, reported a greater number of programs. Longitudinal research found that during the 1980s, 60 percent of centers were reported to have experienced an increase in the number of activities they offered and only one in eight noted a decrease (Krout, 1994a).

Additional topics

Medicine EncyclopediaAging Healthy - Part 4Senior Centers - Focal Points, Awareness And Utilization, Programs And Activities, Characteristics Of Senior Center Participants, Programming For The Frail