Senior community centers and senior living centers are actually different facilities. Senior living centers are facilities that encompass anything from assisted-living to nursing homes. Instead, Senior community centers are facilities in which half-day programs are available for individuals over the age of 65. It wasn’t until the 1970s that senior community centers existed as we know them today.
As the population continues to age, and growing numbers of individuals reached the senior age bracket, it is important to look at these community Senior Center’s as they impact the health of the older adult population.
Senior centers often give older adults the opportunity to gather together with people of like age to participate in recreational activities, service activities, and social activities. The older adult population often continues to have much wisdom and information to give to their community. They often have the desire to give back without the physical capability of completing their tasks.
For example, many elderly have a plethora of stories that relate directly to information young children are learning in their history books. These stories bring to life the history of our nation while at the same time providing the elderly population an outlet for their socialization.
Senior community centers often organize social activities including shopping, golf, and bowling. Because there are usually large numbers of individuals gathered in one facility it is also a wonderful opportunity for healthcare services to be administered in the community. These healthcare services are usually in the form of health screenings for a variety of medical conditions.
Senior community centers can also provide other services such as laundromats to help seniors receive all of the services they require in one place while out of their home. These Senior community centers can also double as senior daycare where individuals who are not capable of being left alone for long periods of time are able to socialize with others their own age while their children and family members are working or at school.
The next step from a senior community Center is the Independent Living Center. Seniors who use independent living centers must be able to manage their own home and personal needs. The next step is an assisted living facility where residents receive some custodial care such as help with bathing, dressing or eating. Most assisted living communities offer a licensed nurse on staff and medical assistance 24 hours a day.
The structure of an independent living facility can be different from facility to facility. Any housing arrangement designed exclusively for seniors will qualify as a senior independent living facility. Some of these facilities also include senior community centers where individuals who continue to live in the community are brought together with seniors who live in an independent living facility.
Most senior community centers receive some tax benefits or a lottery-funded benefits and will help individuals who are 65 years or older, widows or widowers who are 50 or older or individuals who are permanently disabled and 18 years or older.
In a study done in Pennsylvania, researchers found that for individuals in their state the odds of being a senior center participant increased by 81 percent if the individual was on medical assistance and the odds of being a participant also increased by 23 percent if they had Medicare part B. (1)
Researchers also found that individuals who did not participate in senior community centers were more likely to have higher levels of emotional needs and activity of daily living level. They were less likely to have medical assistance or Medicare and more likely to have lower levels of financial need.
Because senior community centers are relatively new in the history of the United States it is important for researchers to continue to evaluate the benefits of utilizing a senior community Center so that more seniors are able to participate and changes can be made to increase the number of benefits they enjoy.