What Are Senior Centers?
When it comes to looking for resources for seniors, a good place to start is your local government and community center. Senior centers are community facilities that hold activities, events, and classes specifically for seniors to nurture and improve their lives. These centers are typically funded by the local government or need to fundraise money in order to run. Most people may not know that their local districts will have community centers suited specifically for seniors. You may even be surprised to learn that these centers offer various programs and activities for senior citizens such as dancing, movie nights, and lunches. Depending on each facility, these programs may even be free of charge for seniors! Many senior centers will even offer transportation for seniors to come to the community center.
What Kind of Activities Are Offered?
Each senior center and senior program is different, but a majority will offer activities and events that promote an active lifestyle, healthy eating, enjoyable activities, and community fun. Most senior centers will have a schedule of events and programs for the month, which will give you an idea of what is offered regularly. Here are just a few activities you may find at your local center.
1. Dancing Classes
Your local senior center will typically offer dance classes specifically suited for the elderly. This could be dance programs such as zumba or zumba gold, jazzercise, line dancing, square dancing, cardio dance, ballroom dancing, ballet, and more. Many of these classes such as zumba and cardio dance feature upbeat, lively music, and will get you working up a moderate sweat. Although not as intense as a usual dance class, these dance classes are beneficial to the senior lifestyle as they are modified to be low-impact.
2. Yoga, Tai Chi, Exercise Classes
Senior centers also offer programs that encourage a healthy and active lifestyle for seniors. These programs can include exercise activities that also promote mental and emotional health such as Tai Chi or yoga. You may also find exercise classes that are specifically for the pool such as water aerobics, swimming, aqua jogging, aqua zumba, and aqua weightlifting. Activities that take place in the pool are beneficial for seniors who suffer from arthritis and joint pain but still desire to maintain an active lifestyle. The water creates enough resistance that will help seniors build muscle without causing too much pressure on the joints. Other classes that may be offered at your local senior center can include stretching, stability classes, strength training, and cardio for seniors.
3. Bridge, Bingo, Games
Games are also an essential part of a healthy senior lifestyle. Playing games such as board games, bridge, bingo, and other card games help stimulate the mind and memory functions. Activities that stimulate cognitive reasoning will help seniors stay healthy in their mental capacities, lessening to risk for memory loss and confusion. Your local community center will also have weekly game nights featuring activities such as bingo, mahjong, Scrabble, Yahtzee, checkers, chess, and other board games. Check if your senior center also has family game nights, which encourage seniors and their families to spend time playing board games with one another.
4. Senior Lunches
Your local community center may also offer senior lunches to encourage healthy eating and nutrition for seniors. These programs are helpful since they provide a service to seniors who are physically unable to cook meals for themselves or may not have enough help to do so. These meals are often offered for a small fee for seniors. Other senior center may utilize organizations such as Meals On Wheels to make sure seniors and disabled seniors will have provisions each day. Check to see if your local senior center or community center offers any lunch time meals or has a monthly meal calendar.
5. Outings and Excursions
Some senior centers will offer day outings and excursions as a way for seniors to remain active and adventurous. These activities will often be discounted or free for seniors. Transportation is usually set up for the groups, along with chaperones. Day outings could include group trips to grocery stores, parks, cultural centers, museums, and others. Excursions could be much longer trips to nearby cities or regions where seniors can explore and tour new places and have fun activities.
6. Educational Classes
Your local senior center will also offer classes that will promote lifelong learning for seniors. These classes can be anything from learning how to use a computer to art courses such as sketching and painting. Continued education is a great way to help seniors maintain critical thinking skills and sharp cognitive functions. Taking classes to learn a new skill will help seniors engage and challenge their mental capacities. It will also test their memory skills and give them a chance to feel fulfilled in enjoying new hobbies and skills. Community centers may offer classes such as yoga, cooking classes, painting, pottery or ceramics, music, and even classes that teach seniors to learn technology.
Each of these activities will help stimulate the mental and physical capacity of a senior, thereby encouraging a healthy and fit lifestyle. At Senior Care Center, we encourage all our seniors to enjoy a fulfilling life by getting connected with resources in their local communities so they can thrive in their mental, emotional, and physical health! For more information on how to live a healthy lifestyle as a senior, check out more articles on our blog.