September is National Senior Center Month
Strengthening Community Connections
Senior Centers provide access to information, opportunities, and support to improve the lives of people in their communities as they age.
The evolution of Senior centers started in the 1940s, with the Older Americans Act (OAA) with the National Council on Aging playing an important role in their growth and expansion. The 1978 amendments to the OAA explicitly summarized that the positions local senior centers should take are central hubs that connect older adults with various programs and agencies designed to meet their needs.
According to the Wisconsin Association of Senior Centers, there are 113 Senior Centers in our State, with one Senior Center per 360,201 people. The State of Wisconsin is ranked 17th in Senior Centers per capita.
Why are senior centers important?
According to the National Council on Aging, Senior centers connect older adults to essential community services that help them stay healthy and independent. They also frequently serve as part of emergency response. Senior centers have been a lifeline for older adults and their communities during the pandemic.
Senior center participants have higher social interaction, health, and life satisfaction levels than their peers. They also tend to be at lower income levels.
Research shows older adults who participate in senior center programs can learn to manage and slow the onset of diseases and illnesses. They can experience physical, social, spiritual, emotional, mental, and economic improvements.
The Alzheimer's and Dementia Alliance of Wisconsin (ADAW) partners with senior centers to deliver dementia-related education and programs. We are grateful to have a space to provide much-needed guidance to those on the dementia journey and a place to connect with the communities we serve.
We encourage you to learn more about what the senior center in your area offers. You may be happy to find access to health, financial security, social engagement, purpose, creativity, mobility, and nutrition—all in a social and fun environment.