Key Takeaways

  • Senior centers offer a wealth of experiences for older adults, and no two senior centers are alike.

  • The winners of NCOA's National Institute of Senior Centers Program of Excellence Awards show how innovative programs can make a difference in people's lives.

  • Celebrate National Senior Center Month this September and discover what senior centers have to offer.


See what’s happening in your community during National Senior Center Month in September

Simona Combi
Public Relations Manager

Arlington, VA (Aug. 3, 2023)—What comes to mind when you hear the words senior center? If it’s bingo and card games, think again. The National Council on Aging (NCOA) has recognized seven senior centers that are engaging older adults in community service projects, empowering them to manage their diabetes, and helping combat loneliness.

The winners are part of the Programs of Excellence run by NCOA’s National Institute of Senior Centers (NISC). The peer-reviewed competition showcases the valuable and creative programs senior centers provide that empower all older adults to live with health and financial security.

In September, NCOA will be celebrating National Senior Center Month to encourage everyone to visit their local center to explore the wealth of opportunities. This year’s theme is Discover Yours, and centers across the country will be hosting special events and programs.

“Senior centers are vital community hubs that make aging well possible,” said Dianne Stone, NCOA’s Associate Director of Network Development and Engagement.

No two senior centers are alike, but all serve as a place of connection, wellness, and essential services for all older adults.”

The Programs of Excellence winners:

  1. Modernization: The Road to Happiness, Ela 55+, Ela Township, Illinois
  2. Marketing: Cove Island Bridge Project, Stamford Senior Center, Connecticut
  3. Intergenerational: National Diabetes Prevention Program Nursing Students Collaborative, City of St. Cloud Whitney Senior Center, Minnesota
  4. Health and Wellness: Senior Helping Senior Network, Sunshine Garden Chinese Senior Community Center, Seattle
  5. Nutrition: Just Picked, Thrive 55+ Active Living Center, Groton, Connecticut
  6. Technology: 50+ Senior Tech Connect, City of Albuquerque Department of Senior Affairs, New Mexico
  7. Social Services: Black History Celebration, Sonna Singleton Gregory Senior Center, Ellenwood, Georgia

Additional winners from previous years and this year's honorable mentions are featured on NCOA’s website and can be searched by category and geographic region.

The nation’s 11,000 senior centers serve more than 1 million older adults every day. In addition to offering creative and social programs, they are integral to health care delivery by providing vaccine education and shots to their participants. They offer a place for older adults to discover how to stay healthy, while also exploring their unique interests, talents, and aspirations.

Go check what your local senior center is offering—you’ll be surprised by the rich programming,” said Stone.

“With opportunities to get fit, get creative, and give back, senior centers are a fun and welcoming place to be—and you might make some terrific friends along the way.”

About NCOA
The National Council on Aging (NCOA) is the national voice for every person’s right to age well. We believe that how we age should not be determined by gender, color, sexuality, income, or ZIP code. Working with thousands of national and local partners, we provide resources, tools, best practices, and advocacy to ensure every person can age with health and financial security. Founded in 1950, we are the oldest national organization focused on older adults. Learn more by following us at @NCOAging