HOW TO START A SENIOR CENTER
FUN ACTIVITIES FOR ACTIVE SENIORS
GROUP ACTIVITIES FOR SENIORS
ACTIVITY IDEAS FOR THE HOLIDAYS
SENIOR CENTERS LINKS
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A senior center is a community focal
point where older adults come together
for services and activities that reflect
their experience and skills, respond to
their diverse needs and interests, enhance
their dignity, support their independence,
and encourage their involvement in and with
the center and the community.
Senior centers offer services and activities
within the center and link participants with
resources offered by other agencies.
The center serves as a resource for the entire
community for information on aging.
A senior center
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With such growth in the seniors market, the
need for senior centers will explode nationally
over the next few years and represents a great
But there are a number of things to consider if
that is a business that is of interest.Here are
a few of those points that will demand your
attention as you start a senior center.
1. Be prepared to get the necessary licenses and
pass a background check before you proceed. In a
number of states, you'll need to go through hoops
including completing a large amount of paperwork.
2. Determine the optimum number of senior citizens
you can care for in your proposed facility. This
will help you determine what to charge and the
breadth of services you will offer.
3. Make your senior center fire-safe. Make sure you
have working fire detectors in all critical areas
of the center and follow the local regulations
religiously. Be aware of the importance your local
community places on the safety of your clientele,
and expect both scheduled and impromptu visits to
make sure that your center complies.
4. Set your rates. This is a function of both what
you will offer your customers in the way of services
and what similar adult daycare centers charge in
5. Plan when your senior center will be open.
Ordinarily, you will need to stay open on weekends,
barring holidays. After you have established your
hours, be sure that this venture will be profitable
based on your rates.
6. Find employees who have experience dealing with
senior citizens and have a positive attitude to
provide your clientele with a good experience. The
happier people are who come to your facility, the
more successful you will become. Not only will you
keep those who come to your center but their word
of mouth recommendation will attract more customers.
7. Invest in food service because it is very important
for your clientele. Plan the type of food you intend
to serve and buy the proper equipment to prepare it.
8. Form a committee of regular patrons to help with
planning activities, particularly when you are getting
started in the business. Not only will they provide
great ideas, the committee will keep your finger on the
pulse of the market you serve.
How to Start a Senior Center
How to Increase Participation in Senior Centers
How to Find a Good Senior Center
How to Find a Senior Center
What Are the Benefits of Senior Centers?
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Activities for Seniors: Hobbies, Crafts &
Classes Suitable for Older Adults.
Active senior citizens may be limited in
some way, but still be bright and happy to
join into a fun, physically active, or
educational activity or hobby. Stimulating
the mind and body has been proven to slow
the aging process, which leads to better
Here are some ideas for simple, engaging,
fun activities for seniors. Some seniors
may have skills to lead games or classes.
Ask around! Otherwise, caregivers, staff,
teachers or family members may be brought
in to lead or arrange events at senior
centers or retirement apartments.
Senior citizens, senior caretakers and
activity directors may have special skills
to teach others.
The following ideas may be one-time activities
or classes, on-going weekly or monthly events,
or turned into a club. Clubs are especially
good for building friendships and knowledge.
•Quilt making or sewing
•Computer and Internet use
•Ballroom or square dancing
•Fishing or hunting
•Learning a foreign language
•Art: painting, drawing, pottery
For more ideas, check city & college extension
pamphlets for classes. Craft and sewing stores
often offer short-term courses and workshops.
For a longer term activity, look into semester-
long classes at a local college. Many colleges
offer senior discounts.
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While most of the above may be adapted to
individuals or groups, some things to do
are more fun or possible only with a group.
Look over these ideas for group events and
•A community garden can be set up in any sized
area, even in containers. Is there a spare spot
of land that could be divided into plots for
•A book discussion club is stimulating and
accessible to most people. Books are available
on tape and in large print as well.
•Volunteer and service work can include making
blankets for children or others in need, packing
donated school supplies for children, and helping
the local food bank. For ideas, search charities
online or ask around at local churches and
community organizations. There is always a need
for help and it feels good to help others.
•Recreational group exercise classes make movement
more fun and tolerable. Aqua-aerobics (available
at most YMCAs and community pools) are especially
senior-friendly. Yoga is also popular.
•Movie night with popcorn and perhaps a 'theme'
party could be great fun each Friday evening.
Revisit classic favorites or enjoy newer films
at home or in a theater.
•Arm-chair travel (with a travel film), complete
with delicious foods from the foreign region is
a real treat. Perhaps some seniors have travel
stories or recipes to share, as well.
•Hold an English Afternoon Tea for Seniors
•A choral group can stay in-house or travel to
share joy with others. In Southern California,
one senior choir travels to nursing homes to
entertain less able senior citizens.
•A travel group might enjoy visiting attractions
such as local gardens, zoos, ethnic or interesting
restaurants, art galleries, and more. Ask for any
special accommodations ahead of time, if need be.
Remember to get that senior discount.
•Regular game nights can be fun. Try Bunco, Bingo,
or a chess club, for instance.
•Seniors may have a lot to share. If you are an
activity director or run a retirement home, ask
residents for input.
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These ideas can be adapted
year-round for all holidays.
•Making Christmas & Hanukkah gifts can be
enriching. There are many books at the
library and ideas on the Internet. Make
gifts for family, friends, children, or
a craft sale.
•Trips to view Christmas lights are magical.
Perhaps some will become inspired to decorate
their home or center with twinkling lights.
•Holding a toy drive or canned food drive for
a food bank is rewarding and requires only a
box with a sign and a little advertising.
•A cookie exchange can work well with each
person involved baking a dozen cookies per
each other person in the group (plus a dozen
to keep). For instance, if 5 people join in,
then each person bakes and wraps (or bags)
5 sets of 12 cookies each (60 cookies total).
At the exchange, each person trades cookies
until everyone has 5 varieties of treats.
Add extra fun by printing up recipes for each
individual. And of course, stay, chat and have
a warm drink.
Fun Group Activities for Active Seniors
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Activities To Do With Senior Citizens
Activity Ideas for Elderly Senior Citizens
National Institute of Senior Centers
Senior Adult Activity Centers
The Senior Center
SENIOR citizen HOBBIES
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