Local Senior Centers are a great resource even for residents of retirement homes

Senior centers that offer programs and classes to the community are a wonderful resource for seniors looking to stay active and get involved in their community. Operated by non-profits, local departments of parks and recreation, or for-profits, all offer activities and an opportunity to get out into the community, beyond the walls of a retirement home.

Even though retirement homes offer a variety of programming to residents, there are many benefits to visiting your local senior center. Open seven days a week, most offer hot meals and fitness classes, as well as multicultural programs (Hispanic, Native American, Asian-American activities) and free Internet access. There may also be opportunities for continuing education (dance, art, languages, craftwork) travel, and community service.

You don't need to live nearby to visit the senior center anyone is welcome! Services are typically free, or for a reduced fee for classes. Like retirement homes, senior centers are wheelchair accessible and designed for ease of use. For those who like to stay busy, there are often volunteer opportunities that are wonderful ways to share one's professional experiences with others. Senior centers can also connect you with local community agencies and non-profits that seek senior volunteers for programs like after-school tutoring, hospital reception areas, police departments, and museums.

Nursing homes offer its residents a great deal of comforts, including a built-in community of people with whom to socialize every day. As with any small community, however, routines become established, and the same people attend programs together. Senior centers offer an alternative to this. Different people visit the senior center every day from all over the area, representing different cultures and lifestyles.