Congratulations to the two senior centers that achieved National Senior Center Accreditation in July 2018. Our newly accredited centers include the Glastonbury Senior Center, CT, and the Surrey Center for Healthy Living in Devon, PA.

The Glastonbury Senior Center

The Glastonbury senior center is located in Glastonbury, Connecticut, a town of 34,000 people located just 7 miles southeast of Hartford.  About 25% of the town’s population is estimated to be age 60 plus; that percentage is projected to increase to 33% by 2025.

The Glastonbury senior center was established in 1976, and eleven years ago moved to a beautiful new 25,000 square foot facility, located at the Riverfront Community Center. A portion of the town’s Human Service department is co-located at the center.

The center is estimated to serve a total of 1,500 people annually, of whom 5% are age 50-59, 36% are 60-74, 44% are 75-84, and 15% are over 85. 70% of participants are female. The daily average attendance is 160.

There is no membership fee; however moderate fees are charged for many programs and services.  82% of the annual operating budget is municipally funded, with 6% funded by the state, and the remainder by fees, grants, and building rental income.

The center has six full-time staff, led by the Supervisor of Senior Services, who reports to the town Human Services Director.  There are also 21 part-time staff, and an estimated 135 volunteers.

Senior Center programs include Title III lunches, transportation to and from the center and for medical appointments and recreational excursions; caregiver education, financial assistance, adult day programming, and a wide range of recreational, health, educational, and intergenerational activities.

The center partners with more than 20 municipal, youth, housing, health, educational, community action, faith-based and other organizations.

The Peer Reviewer notes the following strengths:

  • The Glastonbury Senior Center is a beautiful, well-maintained facility located in equally beautiful, well-maintained surroundings.
  • Locating the Human Services/Social Work component in the center is a great benefit to participants;
  • The Council on Aging is a very engaged body that meets at the center and most participate in center activities;
  • There Is also a large committed volunteer base strengthened by a dedicated volunteer manager;
  • Town support, in particular Human Resource, facility management and strong funding for the center is a major asset;
  • Center programs and services are very affordable and accessible;
  • Friendship Circle is a model program for cognitively impaired seniors;
  • Evening programming is significant, well attended and adequately staffed;
  • Food service options, both the traditional plate lunch and the café model, meet differing schedules and preferences;
  • Building rental procedures are very thorough, and the revenue is significant;
  • The range of evaluation techniques is impressive;
  • There seems to be an adequate number of well-qualified staff;
  • There is an ambitious strategic plan with obvious monitoring and follow through;
  • There is a varied range of programs that should appeal to seniors of different ages and abilities;
  • The senior housing collaboration is also a model partnership program; and
  • The recent acceptance into AARP’s Livable Community Initiative is exciting for the future.

Although this was the third time that Glastonbury had gone through the self-assessment process, it was the first time for the current Supervisor of Senior Services and the Director of Human Services. The process and outcomes proved to be very informative and useful in assessing the current and future organizational needs and operation of the Center.

Surrey Center for Healthy Living

The Surrey Center for Healthy Living is a 501 (c)3 nonprofit organization providing service for 1,964 members. This is the center’s second accreditation as it continually seeks to aim for a superior level of excellence. The center’s governing board is a highly motivated and skilled group who are very active and have a vested interest in the success of Surrey Center for Healthy Living.

The Center is located in a residential section of Devon, in Tredyffrin Township, Chester County Pennsylvania. The staff was purposeful in branding the new Surrey facility as a center for healthy living. They recognized that there is no one size fits all when it came to aging and that the activities needed to appeal to multiple age groups. The programs and activities were developed based on interest rather than age.

The Surrey Center for Healthy Living is a beautiful well-designed modern building. It is a new facility built in 2012 and offers over 15,000 square feet on two floors. The signage on the outside of the building is big and bold. The center is in the heart of a highly populated community. It is easily accessible by public transportation, automobile, walking for those that live in the surrounding neighborhoods. There is a lot of natural light and a sense of openness when you enter the building. The interior has both small and large rooms and these spaces lend themselves to the flexibility the program needs. It allows for multiple activities to be happening at the same time in appropriate spaces.

The Center serves approximately 110 members per day from 8:30 4:30 p.m. They also hold summer evening dances. The demographics include 72% women and 26% men.

The Peer Reviewer notes the following strengths:

  • A very dedicated and well-trained staff.
  • A very supportive Governing Board that recognizes the value of the Senior Center and provides input and assistance to insure the center staff can focus on its programs and members.
  • A membership that has recruited some very sophisticated volunteers who are capable and willing to take on administrative roles.
  • Recognizing and creating a mental health educational program for the seniors at the center.
  • A partnership with Community Volunteer in Medicine to offer free dental services to their members.
  • Having a sound and stable budget.
  • Both reviewers had an overall impression of the submitted materials to be of a very high quality. The manual is well organized and thorough.

Since the last accreditation process, the organization has also gone through the Pennsylvania Association of Nonprofit Organizations Standard for Excellence certification.  These accreditation and certification efforts help to strengthen Surrey’s organizational capacity.

Set your future goals and strengthen your capacity through the national accreditation and the self-assessment process. Learn how the National Senior Center Standards and self-assessment process can help you achieve excellence at your center.