Senior centers meet demands of active, curious members

Seniors gathered by computer screens with an instructor pointing at something on the screen.

Baby Boomers who are looking for ways to stay active and social should scan the programs at their local senior centers. Because these are not your grandma’s senior centers.

Senior centers today offer a variety of programs to enhance their members’ lives. Those may include:

  • Job training and employment assistance
  • Volunteer opportunities
  • Meal and nutrition programs
  • Educational and arts classes
  • Health, fitness and wellness programs (like SilverSneakers®1)
  • Social and recreational activities, like dancing and card games
  • Hobby-inspired clubs, like book and garden clubs
  • Day trips or longer tours (usually for a fee)
  • Transportation services

Senior centers may be just want the doctor ordered. People who participated in senior center activities reported noticeable improvements to their physical, social, spiritual, emotional, mental and economic well-being, according to the National Council on Aging (NCOA).2

“I have visited senior centers across the state of Connecticut over the past 20 years,” says Nicole, a social worker at ConnectiCare. “Some of them are now places I can’t wait to go when I turn 50.”

Take one step

Never used your local senior center? Nicole recommends looking on its calendar for one activity that interests you. Commit to trying it at least twice. Add more activities as your interests and relationships grow. This will make it easier to adjust your schedule without feeling overwhelmed.

Nicole recently worked with a 75-year-old ConnectiCare member who had moved 40 miles from home to be with her son and daughter-in-law. The woman felt isolated but thought she was “too young” to go to a senior center.

Nicole shared the center’s events calendar. The member perked up when she noticed a gardening club. She agreed to try it. Soon she was on the board. This woman now enjoys regular lunches at the center with her garden club friends and is filling her schedule with more activities, Nicole says.

“It’s tough to make new friends at any age,” Nicole says. “But know that a majority of the people at the senior center felt just like you before they got involved.”

How to find local senior centers

Your local Area on Aging can help you locate senior centers in your area. Your town or city’s website will have information, too. ConnectiCare members can call member services at 1-800-224-2273 (TTY: 1-800-842-9710) from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., seven days a week.

For related information, see our posts on six reasons to get moving and how staying social may help you live longer

1Tivity Health, SilverSneakers and SilverSneakers FLEX are registered trademarks or trademarks of Tivity Health, Inc., and/or its subsidiaries and/or affiliates in the USA and/or other countries. ©2019 Tivity Health, Inc. SilverSneakers is not included with Passage Dual (HMO SNP) plans and some group Medicare plans. Check your evidence of coverage to see if you are eligible for SilverSneakers.

2Source: National Council on Aging. https://www.ncoa.org/news/resources-for-reporters/get-the-facts/senior-center-facts/. Accessed Jan. 29, 2019.

ConnectiCare, Inc. is an HMO/HMO-POS plan with a Medicare contract. Enrollment in ConnectiCare depends on contract renewal. ConnectiCare Insurance Company, Inc. is an HMO SNP plan with a Medicare contract and a contract with the Connecticut Medicaid Program. Enrollment in ConnectiCare depends on contract renewal.