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  3. Tish Rudnicki Joins North Shore Senior Center as Executive Director

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What is a Senior Center?

May 01, 2015

At every stage of life, people are drawn to a community of peers for recreation, social, and support from their  peers.  Children have school and recreational activities such as soccer, dance. Young adults have “hangouts.”  Adults may find this in the workplace, community or civic organizations, and even the local coffee shop.

For older adults, many find a community of peers at a senior center.  Senior lenters have been around for decades, and were recognized by the Older Americans Act (OAA) as a community focal point. According to the National Council on Aging (NCOA), senior centers have become one of the most widely used resources among America’s older adults. Today, nearly 11,000 senior centers serve one million older adults every day.

But what, exactly, is a “senior center”?  Senior centers are dedicated to enriching the lives of older adults, providing a place where they can find a community of peers to socialize, learn together, enhance their well-being, access resources, and find support. Similar to the way a park district may provide classes and activities designed for children and families, a senior center is a place with classes, activities and services designed specifically for older adults.

More than just activities, however, senior centers serve as a gateway to the “aging network,” connecting older adults to vital community services that help them stay healthy and independent. At a senior center, older adults and the community at large can access multiple services all in one place, including:

  • Health, fitness, and wellness programs
  • Educational and enrichment classes
  • Social and recreational activities
  • Volunteer and civic engagement opportunities
  • Information and assistance to help navigate the maze of services
  • Access to social services and support
  • Benefits counseling, including help with Medicare
  • Support groups
  • Financial assistance
  • Meals and nutrition programs
  • Transportation services

Senior centers are dynamic organizations that offer this and more in a welcoming environment. Furthermore, a senior center’s broad menu of offerings can serve adults through the years as their needs and desires may shift throughout this stage of life. For example, a newly retired adult may seek dynamic classes, new friends, and adventure, while an older senior may also seek more support and assistance.  NCOA reports that older adults who participate in senior center programs experience measureable improvements in their physical, social, emotional, and economic well-being.

North Shore Senior Center is such a resource for the northern suburbs. An accredited senior center recognized as a “New Model of Senior Centers” by the National Institute of Senior Centers, North Shore Senior Center offers a broad selection of education and enrichment classes, fitness and health programs, volunteer opportunities, information, and support services.  For example, on any given day a person could have an early morning workout in the Fitness Center, take a morning class on “Global Hot Topics” discussing the hard-hitting issues of the day, then enjoy a lite lunch in the A&A Café, followed by a meeting with a social worker to review the many Medicare supplement options. In the afternoon, perhaps a game of cards with friends.  

For more information, visit our website or call 847.784.6000.