Published: September 30, 2021
Senior centers are all across the United States, and they’re gaining in popularity. Hundreds of thousands of seniors have memberships to their local senior centers, where they’re able to relax (or even challenge themselves!) in the company of their friends and family.
But there is still so much unknown about senior centers, especially for those who are unfamiliar with them and just getting to know what they are. In this article, we’re going to explain what senior centers are, how to locate your closest one, what the typical membership requirements are and what the benefits to becoming a member are.
Let’s dive right in by further explaining what senior centers are, as well as what their purpose is.
The great thing about senior centers is the fact that they’re exactly what they sound like: centers for seniors. However, a more detailed explanation of what they are will tell you that they are community centers for seniors to network, exercise, participate in games and activities, and more. Each senior center’s purpose is to help seniors maintain their independence in a safe environment with the support of staff and other members.
You may find that your senior center will offer some — or all — of the typical services that most offer. These services can include:
There are a lot of ways in which you can locate your closest senior center, but the easiest way is to type in a quick search online. This will outline all of the senior centers in your area, how far away they are, their hours of operation, as well as directions as to how to drive to them. Doing so will also pull up a list of the senior centers’ websites so that you can look around to see which is the best center that is fit for you.
You can also locate your local senior center by looking at your city’s directory and seeing where it is located.
Each senior center will have a different set of requirements that an individual must meet in order to become a member, which is why it’s important to check with your local center to see what its specific requirements are. This is done to make sure that the centers do not become overcrowded and, as a correlation result, understaffed. However, the most common requirement is, of course, the age limit. Although some senior centers allow members to be as young as 50, others will have older age requirements, like 55, 60 or even 65.
It’s also common to find that most senior centers will have annual (or even monthly) dues that must be paid to the organization in order to maintain your membership status. In addition to the dues, some centers may have zoning requirements. This means that if you live in Town A, and the senior center you wish to join is in Town B, you may not meet the requirements, or you will have to pay an additional fee for living outside of Town B’s zone. This may make it difficult for those who are in need of transportation, as transportation may only be available within the city the senior center is located, so it’s important to inquire about that as you research senior centers to join.
It will be no surprise to know that there are a lot of benefits to getting a membership at a senior center. That’s because they’re designed to be loaded with advantages for seniors. The benefits can range, so let’s waste no time in understanding what they are.
First and foremost, you’re surrounded by people who are close to your age, which is a great feature. Think about it. Many people enjoyed their time at college because they were surrounded by individuals who were similar to them in age and interests, and senior centers are no different because many seniors who join are doing so to remain active and involved. And when you are in a safe environment like a senior center, it becomes a lot easier to make great friends who you can spend time with.
Another benefit to senior center memberships is the fact that you’re able to get healthier and stay active, in both the physical and mental sense. There are multiple activities and exercises available that are designed to keep you and other seniors healthy, as well as a lot of educational programs and classes that you can take if you’re interested in learning a new skill or lesson.
Not to mention, a lot of these activities give you an opportunity to get involved in your community. That’s because a lot of the ventures or projects you can work on are volunteering opportunities that directly benefit your local community, whether it be gardening or reading programs. You can find out more about these activities by taking a look at the classes your center has scheduled and determining which is the best fit for you.
A third benefit to a membership is that it expands your ability to go out for the day. Some seniors are quick to get tired of being in the same environment on a constant basis, especially if they spend all of their time at home. Senior centers are great places to get away for the day so that you can busy yourself with other things to do, no matter how relaxing or stimulating it may be. Not to mention, if you find your home to be a comfortable space for you, your local senior center is a short distance away, meaning you don’t have to go far away from your home to enjoy your day. And, similar to a gym membership, it’s up to you how frequently you wish to go — you do not have to commit to visiting it every day.
Finally, one of the best benefits to senior centers is the added transportation. Although you will have to contact your local center to confirm whether they offer transportation, it’s likely that they are able to provide that accommodation. This is great for any senior who does not want to drive him or herself but would otherwise have trouble finding a reliable ride.
Senior centers are great ways in which you can stay active and involved within your community while being in a safe environment. Like we mentioned before, their overall purpose is to help seniors maintain their independence in a healthy way. The greatest benefits to having a membership you’re your local center are:
Check with your local senior center if you have any questions regarding specifics, like membership requirements, transportation, membership fees and more. This will help you better understand whether it’s a center you’ll want to join, or if you should look into others first. Trust us, you’ll be glad you did!
For any further other questions pertaining to your retirement, don’t hesitate to reach out to The Best Senior Services (TBSS). We at TBSS strive to educate seniors about Medicare and other financial services so that you can spend less time worrying about your retirement and more time enjoying it. You can get started with us today by visiting our website or calling us at 855-979-8277.
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