Senior Centers: Opportunities for Successful Aging

Senior Centers: Opportunities for Successful Aging

Senior Centers: Opportunities for Successful Aging

Senior Centers: Opportunities for Successful Aging

Synopsis

Description The book features real-life vignettes that bring the text to life, providing readers with the opportunity to see how older adults benefit from senior centers. The Appendix includes a useful list of resources as well. Professionals who work with older adults including social workers, recreation therapists, nurses, gerontologists, administrators, and students will find this book to be a valuable resource. The book features real-life vignettes that bring the text to life, providing readers with the opportunity to see how older adults benefit from senior centers. The Appendix includes a useful list of resources as well. Professionals who work with older adults including social workers, recreation therapists, nurses, gerontologists, administrators, and students will find this book to be a valuable resource.

Excerpt

I feel very privileged to have been asked to write the Foreword of a book exclusively devoted to senior centers, written by two veterans in the field. Their creativity and deeply rooted understanding of this community institution gives this book tremendous credibility and will be helpful to all who are working in the field or to those who want a better understanding of where the senior center fits in.

I can sum up the mission of senior centers in two words—aging positively. How that is accomplished varies from community to community, depending on the level of priority it is given by the community itself and the level of staff competency for which it is willing to pay. I often compare the development of senior community centers to the development of schools in this country. Just as we started with the oneroom schoolhouse for our children, we started with the one-room senior center for our older adults. Both these institutions were established to provide needed services for groups as defined by chronological age.

Why were senior centers created? In a word, isolation! One social phenomena after World War II was that people were living longer and were retired from the work force with nothing to do and no place to go. In recent times, new waves of change have been added to the picture—children have become more mobile and have moved far away from their parents, and friends have moved out of the neighborhood. All these developments left a segment of the population with problems that rarely had been faced before. Many of our older adults were feeling unwanted, discarded, and were just waiting to die.

It is part of the healthy human condition to feel needed and productive and to value self-worth. The senior center was created to transition a relatively healthy, independent, older population out of their isolated state into a setting that enveloped them with security, companionship, activity, transportation, food, and advocacy. It is the one community institution that our independent elderly can identify as theirs.

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