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Senior Centers: Masters of Aging

Are you motivated by TED talks? I recently listened to, and discussed, Simon Sinek’s TED talk “How Great Leaders Inspire Action”.

Sinek encourages us to start with “why.” Why do you do what you do? What’s your purpose, cause, belief?

It’s a good question to ponder as we celebrate National Senior Center Month this September.

Dianne Stone, Executive Director of the Newington Senior and Disabled Center, CT, answered the “why” with this: “I believe that we all control how we age and that we can do it well.”

I agree with Diane, as this statement encapsulates and is the basis for what we do. I believe that by taking certain actions, we can live well as we age. And we know that senior centers can empower us to master aging.

Senior centers are where communities embrace the opportunities and challenges of aging. They serve as a gateway connecting older adults, their families, and the community to resources that enable older adults (and eventually everyone as they age) to stay healthy, secure, and independent.

Older adults come to their local senior center to be enlightened by thought-provoking programming; engaged with opportunities to share their skills and talents; empowered to take action, exercise, and find resources; and enriched by their connection to others, finding fun and friendships that enhance their lives. Each senior center reflects the unique character of its community, but all share the common goal of promoting positive aging.

NISC is proud to support the work of senior centers by connecting the professionals who run them, sharing best practices, supporting policies that affect older adults and senior centers, seeking sustainability strategies and funding opportunities, providing national standards and resources, identifying priorities to view a broader perspective of how we can contribute to people aging well, and by celebrating all of this important work during National Senior Center Month every September.

Here are 3 reminders to help you make the most of Senior Center Month:

  • Customize your own Senior Center Month poster If you’re a NISC member, you can download your own customizable Senior Center Month poster to hang in your center. Proudly display pictures of participants and activities that you have hosted throughout the year, or hold a contest to vote on which images get featured.
  • Take part in Senior Center Advocacy Day New this year, NISC has designated Friday, Sept. 15, as National Senior Center Advocacy Day. We need your help to focus attention on public policy issues that affect your center. Educate your community and elected officials on how your center is funded and encourage dialogue between participants and their elected officials. Invite lawmakers for a visit or organize a petition or postcard writing party.
  • Apply for a NISC Programs of Excellence Award The NISC Programs of Excellence Awards are a great way for your center to be recognized for the innovative programs you offer. Apply today! The 2017 awards come with a $100 prize and a $300 prize will be awarded to the most innovative marketing campaign.

For more information and ideas for Senior Center Month, NISC members can download the 2017 Program and Publicity Guides from NISC Crossroads, our online community. If you’re not a NISC member, join today for these valuable benefits!

Senior centers are truly masters of aging. Celebrate the important work you do as you inspire your community to age well. Happy Senior Center Month!

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About Maureen O'Leary

Maureen O'Leary has been Program Manager for NCOA's National Institute of Senior Centers (NISC) since 2007.