Each year, we devote a month to celebrate and recognize the work that senior centers throughout the country do to help seniors enjoy their golden years. Every day, senior centers give aging Americans a place they can gather, find events, and even improve their fitness and health. Many are supported through a mix of federal and state funding, generous donations from fellow members of the community, and the aid of volunteers.

This September, take some time to celebrate National Senior Center Month with us as we look at its history and how you can take part this year.

The History of National Senior Center Month

The origin of National Senior Center Month can be found in National Senior Center Week, which was first celebrated annually in May 1979. The concept of celebrating senior centers nationally gained wide support through organizations like the National Council on Aging, the U.S. Conference of Mayors Aging Task Force, and the full Senate and House Select Committee on Aging. In 1985, President Ronald Reagan signed the first Senior Center Week Presidential Proclamation with the support of the National Institute of Senior Centers (NISC).

NISC designated each September to be the month of celebration for all that senior centers do for senior citizens in the U.S.

By 2007, the idea behind National Senior Center Week became so popular that NISC expanded the celebration of senior centers to an entire month. NISC designated each September to be the month of celebration, allowing for more time for events.

What Is National Senior Center Month 2018 All About?

The 2018 theme for National Senior Center Month will be “Building Momentum.” The focus will be on how senior centers can be a powerful support system for seniors around the United States by utilizing their lessons and experience from over 75 years of helping older Americans. Through innovative programs to assist with aging and a strong system of community resources, NISC aims to promote how senior centers present what “aging can be.”

NISC strives to build momentum in the movement to empower senior centers to become as excellent as possible through programs such as National Accreditation and the Programs of Excellence Awards.

By promoting and supporting senior centers, National Senior Center Month aims to build a momentum toward a brighter future for aging Americans. To achieve this, NISC will focus on four key ideals:

  • Growing | Helping seniors grow to be their best self
  • Learning | Assisting seniors in learning new languages and skills
  • Connecting | Connecting seniors with new and old friends
  • Giving | Highlighting opportunities to give back to senior centers and the community

What Can I Do to Celebrate?

With an entire month designated to celebrating senior centers, you’ll have many opportunities to join in the fun. The easiest way to get involved is by attending an event at a senior center near you. Simply find a senior center near you and see what they’ll be up to this month. You can take it a step further by volunteering to help with events they’ll be throwing this month and beyond.

The easiest way to get involved is by attending an event at a senior center near you.

As you’re celebrating, there are a few special days in September to watch out for. September 9, 2018, is Grandparents Day, when we honor the ways grandparents enrich our lives. On September 22, the National Council on Aging is hosting Falls Prevention Awareness Day events to help seniors live more safely in their homes. Finally, National Employ Older Workers Week runs from September 24 to 28.

September is also Hunger Action Month. With millions of seniors affected by hunger, expect to see some crossover between that and National Senior Center Month.

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Senior centers do a lot of good for seniors in their areas, so taking one month out of the year to appreciate them makes sense. You can learn more about ways to get involved with National Senior Center Month this year by reading the National Council on Aging’s Program Guide.

In it, you’ll find resources for advocacy, awareness, and events, to name only a few. With so many great ways to get involved, you can probably find one that works for you!