Senior Center Stock
The National Institute of Senior Centers accreditation program says activities and resources should include day trips and accessibility to programs in fine arts and crafts, music and dance, lifelong learning, and fitness and health.

With a senior center opening soon here in Maricopa, it’s an appropriate time to consider what one should provide.

Joan Koczor Senior Living
Joan Koczor

Senior centers should:

• Serve as a place for people over the age of 50 to hang out, have a hot meal and enjoy social time with friends.

• Create and maintain a warm, safe, social environment for seniors who are otherwise alone.

• Be physically accessible. It should be clean, attractive and ADA-compliant, with sufficient regular and accessible parking.

• Stress the importance of seniors keeping active, which has extreme health benefits. Research shows senior center participants, compared with their peers, have higher levels of health, social interaction and life satisfaction.

Today, nearly 11,000 senior centers serve 1 million U.S. adults age 50-plus every day. About 70% are women. Three-quarters visit their center one to three times per week and
spend an average of 3.3 hours per visit.

Senior centers are not what they used to be. Today, the goal is to connect seniors to community services while helping them to remain active and independent.

Joan Koczor is a senior advocate and a member of the Age-Friendly Maricopa Advisory Board.



The National Council on Aging’s National Institute of Senior Centers is working to advance the quality of senior centers nationwide with a National Senior Center Accreditation Program.

The program, which recognizes facilities that meet the highest standards of excellence, says activities and resources should include:

1. Low-impact, exercise classes for folks who want to help maintain their mobility and strength.

2. A place to play card games, puzzles, Scrabble and other games to help stimulate the mind.

3. Practical day trips and longer trips for seniors, plus accessibility to programs in fine arts and crafts, music and dance, lifelong learning, and fitness and health.

4. Information on services and resources for healthcare, taxes, Social Security and legal affairs.

5. A kitchen with a refrigerator, industrial microwave, coffee pot and other kitchen essentials.

6. A hot lunch daily, with the choice of an alternative cold meal. The cost can be determined by age or flat fee.

7. A senior advisory board/council that provides direction management.


This column appears in the July issue of InMaricopa magazine.