What is the process?

Accreditation is a two-phase process:

  1. Community Self-Assessment: Based on standards of Senior Center operation with key questions addressed by members of Board of Directors, staff, participants, community stakeholders, etc.
  2. Accreditation: Involves compiling supporting documentation related to the National Senior Center Self-Assessment and National Accreditation Manual, an on-site review of documentation and the Center by a certified Peer Reviewer, and a review of the Peer Reviewers’ findings and recommendation by the National Accreditation Board. Cost is based on Senior Center’s budget and peer review expenses.

How do I start?

NISC members can download the Building Excellence standards manual at no cost.

Can any size senior center be accredited?

Yes, this process was tested on eight senior centers ranging from a store front to a multi-site organization and worked with all of them. How much time does it take? To date, most senior centers that have gone through the process have taken six to 12 months for completion.

When does accreditation expire?

Accreditation is for a five-year period and there is a process for renewing the accreditation.

What technical assistance is available?

You have access to two kinds of technical assistance:

  • Self Assessment Manual
  • Accreditation Hotline: 1-800-373-4906

Standards trainers are available for basic assistance and may be contracted for advanced assistance for a reasonable fee.

What is the history of accreditation?

NCOA/NISC received a large, corporate-funded grant to develop and refine a national process of accreditation of eight senior centers through a demonstration in seven states. This accreditation process was based upon the NISC Senior Centers Standards and Self-Assessment Workbook material previously developed and tested. As a companion to the development and testing of this accreditation process, a public awareness campaign will be designed and tested in order to foster the public’s understanding of senior centers and the role that they play in the community and the lives of older persons and their family.

For more information about NISC, contact us via e-mail: nisc.coordinator@ncoa.org.