Congratulations to the five centers awarded national accreditation in January 2020. The newly accredited sites include Hingham Senior Center, MA; Madison Senior Center, WI; Wayne Senior Center, PA, and two centers in Worcester County, MD, the Snow Hill Senior Center and Pocomoke City Senior Center.
The Town of Hingham is located approximately 15 miles south of Boston and is bordered on the east by the Atlantic Ocean. With 21 miles of coastline, Hingham is a community steeped in history and the town has created six historic districts that will help the town maintain its unique character in the future.
The Department of Elder Services is overseen by the Council on Aging, an 11-member Advisory Board, with the majority being 60 and older.
The Department of Elder Services Board operates a full-time senior center, Monday through Friday, 8:30 am – 4:00 pm, with an average daily participation of 100. Services and programs are open to any Hingham resident 60 and older. If registration and space permit, older individuals from neighboring communities as well as Hingham residents under the age of 60 are welcome to participate in the programs and activities at the Senior Center.
This is the center’s third national accreditation. The Peer Reviewer noted the following strengths of the senior center. They included:
- The staff is very experienced, dedicated and enthusiastic with great ideas for programming and collaborations.
- Broad-based programming that is constantly evolving.
- A variety of fitness programs for varying physical and interest levels.
- Wonderful lifelong learning program that is coordinated by a self-directed team of seniors.
- Huge book club – 200 members!
- A very successful Aging Mastery Program.
- A town community café in the town hall campus that serves the whole community. This is great as the center only offers lunch two days a week.
- Great Evaluation Plan
- Good support from the town decision and policy makers and the Council on Aging.
- Extensive community connections and collaborations. It is apparent that a lot effort has been placed by the staff to look for every opportunity to collaborate to bring new and improved services.
- Building is part of the town hall campus which allows for collaborative programing and shared space access.
- Very active volunteer program and a commitment to volunteers
The Madison Senior Center mission is to promote successful aging. The center welcomes 40,000 visitors annually, and offers close to 3,000 events each year.
Programming includes Technology, Dance and Exercise, lifelong learning classes, Wellness Activities, Intergenerational programs, music and entertainment. The Center offers Support Groups, health screenings, senior services and referrals. 300 volunteers of all ages help to staff our programming, and over 200 donors support our center annually.
The City of Madison Operating Budget provides 94% the total Senior Center budget. The Partnership Fund supports programs and activities and the Madison Senior Center Foundation manages Individual donations and program sponsorships.
This will be the center’s fourth accreditation. The peer reviewer found the following strengths of the center. They included:
- Physical facility is a warm, inviting, spacious, clean building with room for expansion of programs.
- Marketing within the building shows appropriate and pleasant vision of aging.
- The Center provides high level, challenging programs, like the music program PLATO program and the conversational Spanish class.
- Intergenerational programming occurring at the Center should be recognized as a best practice. Preschool children engaging with older adults in a one on one fashion doing projects together. It was apparent how both generations felt connected and trusting of the other. A middle school student meeting with older adults to journal their life stories gives validation to each of those generations. Lastly, nursing students meeting one on one for health benefits of the older adult proves to be a benefit for both the student and the older adult’s health. Great collaborating within a community.
- Wonderful community partners: Of note was an interview with Downtown Madison, Inc., a nonprofit working together with the Center for advocacy and delving into the issues that older adults face in downtown Madison. They are working together to become an Age Friendly City. Working in this collaborative way for an age friendly city initiative that encompasses safety, transportation, falls prevention, advocacy, downtown amenities is a best practice.
- Engaged Volunteers: The volunteers are just naturally helping and participating as members, as well. The volunteers speak positively of the Center as “friendly”, “engaged”, “at home here”, “it’s a good fit for me”. One volunteer reporting, “It always happens when I leave…I’m happy!”
- Excellent Accreditation Committee: They understand the process, the purpose and the mission of accreditation. They buy into being the best, a higher honor, educating the masses, fresh viewpoints that aren’t just staff speaking. It is a credible organization.
Wayne is in the Northwest corner of Pennsylvania. With 763 square miles of land and by the census 32,530 residents. The center of Wayne is designated the Downtown Wayne Historic District. Wayne is on the Main Line of the SEPTA Regional Rail system.
The Wayne Senior Center is operated by Main Line Senior Services, Inc, our legal name. It is a stand-alone building, located is in a suburb of Philadelphia, Radnor Township, which is 25 miles northwest of the city. While seniors can take advantage of the business area location, the building is literally an island in the middle of a municipal parking lot. Seniors take advantage of the nearby restaurants, shops, small businesses, and being 200 feet from the Wayne Train Station, they also can ride the train for free.
The center is well maintained and has a signature color scheme of turquoise and orange throughout the furniture, fitness equipment and general décor. This theme also runs through there brochure, newsletter, annual reports, and marketing.
The mission of the Wayne Senior Center is to provide community, friendship and resources which enrich the lives of older adults. The Wayne Senior Center is where active, independent people age 50 and older come to nurture their interests and needs, both intellectual and physical. This is the place where seniors become empowered to grow, develop and get involved with their community.
This is Wayne Senior Center’s third accreditation. The peer reviewer found the following strengths of the center. They included:
- The Wayne Center has a well-maintained building that looks and feels welcoming from the moment you walk in the door. The exterior signage is very visible, and necessary for their location.
- The Wayne staff are always looking to introduce new and creative programing to the center, like the Aging Mastery Program.
- Volunteers are dedicated to the center and willingly share their time and talents with staff and their peers.
- Extensive community connections and collaborations. It is apparent that a lot of effort has been placed by staff to look for every opportunity to bring new and improved services to a variety of locations.
- Broad based programing that is constantly evolving. They have really maximized the limited space that they have available for programming.
- The Wayne senior center director and staff are very dedicated & enthusiastic. There is a warm and friendly “family” connection between the participants and staff.
- Great support for staff and the programing from the Board of Directors
WorCOA has a board of directors and oversees adult day care, transportation, community services and senior centers. The mission statement for all WorCOA sites is to “Enhance the quality of life of all Worcester County Citizens 50 years and older by providing programs and services that promote active, independent and healthy lifestyles.” Four sites are owned and funded by Worcester County government
Worcester County Commission on Aging, (WorCOA), Maryland completed accreditation of their four centers last month. In July 2019, Northern Worcester County Senior Center and Ocean City Senior Center received accreditation. This January Snow Hill and Pocomoke City Senior Center received their accreditation.
Snow Hill Senior Center
Snow Hill, Maryland is a very rural community of 2,103 on the Eastern Shore of the Delmarva Peninsula. Snow Hill is a warm community with a rich past built on the banks of the Pocomoke River. Kayaking, history, and fishing are activities that attract visitors from all over the country. The community is focused around chicken production and fishing.
The Snow Hill Senior Center also known as the Martha and Charles Fulton Center was opened in 2004. The Snow Hill Senior Center has an active, friendly group of participants. Members come daily for continuing activities offered. The participants here look out for and take care of each other. They have exercise classes and an exercise room, Bridge along with Wii bowling, shuffleboard, bumper pool, darts, ring toss, kick ball, and pitch penny, and lots of board games including dominoes and bingo. The number of seniors served is 98 per year which is a large percent of the seniors in the community and see an average of 20 older adults daily.
This is the center’s first accreditation.
Pocomoke City, Maryland is a rural community of 4,184 on the Eastern Shore of the Delmarva Peninsula, right on the border with Virginia. Pocomoke City has been called “the friendliest town on the Eastern Shore”. Along with this welcoming spirit, Pocomoke City is known as a center of commerce with great natural beauty.
The Pocomoke City Senior Center, opened in 1978, serves this community of 4,184 residents. The number of seniors is approximately 837; therefore, while the center only serves 75 seniors per year, that is a large percent of the seniors in the community.
The participants are a fun-loving group of people who enjoy exercise classes, Bingo Club and games, going out to lunch and fellowship. They look forward to their daily exercise activity which keeps them in shape. They are a tight knit group who pride themselves on being welcoming.
This is the center’s first accreditation.
The peer reviewer found the following strengths of both of the Worcester County Centers. They included:
- Welcoming, friendly staff who appear to know and care about the seniors who participate at their centers.
- Knowledgeable staff regarding aging health and well-being issues.
- Regular staff attend external Continuous Education opportunities.
- Bright and airy centers that are welcoming, clean and spacious enough for the size groups that the center supports.
- Good community partnerships such as Amedisys Home Health. The RN who was taking blood pressure at the Pocomoke City Senior Center knew the participants and was encouraging their progress with better health.
- Utilization of staff from four centers to apply their individual strengths and areas of expertise across all four centers.
- Dedicated health expert staff for evidence-based programming.
- Good use of technology to supplement the staff expertise for exercise classes from YouTube.
- Strong trip (both day and over-night) programming.
- Close relationship with County for financial resources as well as information and referral for county community resources.
- The Center is part of larger Worcester County Commission on Aging, Inc. which provides back office support as well as complimentary services for seniors.
- Strong financial backing by state and county.
- Brand new recreation facility ‘across field’ from the Snow Hill Senior Center, includes walking track.
Build a support system through your Accreditation Committee. Like Madison Senior Center find individuals who understand the purpose and the mission of accreditation. Individuals who want to see your center be the best, receive a high honor, educate the masses, and will advocate for your center to create a strong credible organization. Learn how the National Senior Center Standards and self-assessment process can help you achieve excellence at your center.