Economic Security at Senior Centers

Senior centers administer a range of programs such as congregate meals, transportation services, and community education that work to maintain the health and independence of older adults.  Many senior centers recognize the value of public benefits programs to assist low-income seniors with paying their medical, prescription, food, and energy costs, and include public benefits screening and assistance into their resources and activities.

Below are links to resources found on NCOA.org that you can share to empower older adults to enhance their economic security.

3 ways senior centers can promote economic security:

Present the following programs

  • Next Steps to Better Nutrition: These six classes help older adults discover how to stretch their food budget and cook healthy, easy-to-make meals that will improve their nutrition.
  • Savvy Saving Seniors® Programs: Get toolkits to deliver these workshops that help older adults learn how to budget, avoid scams, apply for benefits, and manage prepaid debit cards, so they can stay secure and independent.

Provide jobs and training opportunities

  • SCSEP Program: SCSEP helps adults aged 55+ return to or remain active in the workforce by providing job training, job search services, and on-the-job experience.
  • Senior Employment Resources on EconomicCheckUp®: Share these tools that help participants assess their employment/volunteer skills and interests, get training, and search for jobs at age-friendly companies.

Share resources with senior center personnel that offer financial and benefits counseling

SNAP

  • SNAP Enrollment Strategies: The NCOA Senior SNAP Enrollment Promising Practices Brief summarizes promising practices for SNAP outreach, application assistance, and follow-up that can be used by senior centers looking for effective ways to increase senior SNAP enrollment in their communities.
  • Seniors and SNAP Promising Practices: View this handbook that describes best practices that can be replicated by senior centers to assist seniors with SNAP enrollment and improve food security.

Benefits Access

  • Learn how Senior Centers are connecting Economic Security to Older Adults: See how other centers have had success in bringing economic security programs to their participants.
  • You Gave, Now Save, a guide to benefits for seniors: This guide describes benefits available to seniors with limited means that can help pay for health care, food, utilities, and more.
  • Economic Security Initiative ToolkitThe Economic Security Initiative is a person-centered, holistic approach to economic casework to address the needs of older adults experiencing economic distress. See how your Center might implement the approach with your participants.
  • Benefits Enrollment Center ToolkitBECs provide comprehensive assistance to help low-income Medicare beneficiaries apply for all of the programs for which they may be eligible. Learn more about how to replicate the BEC model.
  • NCOA BenefitsCheckUp®Use NCOA’s free, confidential online screening tool to connect older adults to thousands of benefits programs that can help them pay for food, medicine, utilities, and more. This version is tailored specifically for senior centers.
  • EconomicCheckUp®: Use this free, comprehensive online service to help your center participants find work, cut spending, reduce debt, and use their home equity.

Staff Training Resources

  • Senior Debt Facts: Get the facts about how many older adults are carrying debt, and resources that can help them, in this report.
  • An End to Stigma: Learn about how stigma prevents seniors from applying for benefits, and the messages that can be used the effectively counter stigma.
  • Elder Index™: The Elder Economic Security Standard™ Index provides a measure of local expenses, savings requirements, and what incomes are needed to achieve economic security by family type, at the city, county, and state levels.

Other Resources

  • Use Your Home to Stay at Home: Available in English and Spanish, this is the official federally approved consumer booklet for older homeowners considering a reverse mortgage.
  • My Medicare Matters QuickCheck ™: Learn more about Medicare and answer a few questions to get personal recommendations for choosing coverage.